President Barack Obama kicked off the holiday season in Washington on Thursday with the lighting of the National Christmas Tree.
Obama joined hundreds of people for the annual event held just steps from the White House. First lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha, and Mrs. Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, also attended the event on a chilly night in the nation's capital.
Obama said the national tree is a "symbol of hope and holiday spirit." He urged Americans to remember members of the U.S. military serving overseas, as well as their families.
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"As we hold our loved ones tight, let's remember the military families whose loved ones are far from home," Obama said. "They are our heroes."
This year's ceremony marks the 92nd annual lighting of the Christmas tree near the White House. The National Park Service says the tradition was started by President Calvin Coolidge in 1923.
Tom Hanks and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, served as this year's hosts. Ne-Yo, Steve Miller, country star Chely Wright, Patti Labelle, and the groups Fifth Harmony, Nico and Vinz and The Tenors took the stage before the Obamas.
Tickets for the 3,000 seats and 14,000 standing-room spots were made available through a lottery back in October. Only ticketed guests could attend.
This year, the 56 state and territory Christmas trees in the park are lit with designs created by girls nationwide through Google's Made with Code project.