KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The journey started in New Mexico, when a blue spruce was cut down to be the Capitol Christmas tree. On Friday, the journey to the capital took it through Knoxville.

A sawyer used a chain saw to sever the trunk, which one of two cranes then jerked several feet up in the air. Then both cranes swung the tree over to a flatbed trailer at the Carson National Forest site.

It's a huge effort, but it happens every single year. Each winter, a different national forest provides a tree to appear on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building for the holiday season. 

This year's tree will tour New Mexico before leaving on a cross-country road trip, ending Nov. 24 at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington.

According to the project website, stops are scheduled in Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia.

Knoxville was on the list of stops for Friday, Nov. 22. The Capitol Christmas tree parked at Chilhowee Park at 3301 East Magnolia Avenue for an hour from 6 to 7 p.m. Well-wishers and Christmas lovers had a chance to sign banners on the sides of the truck carrying the tree to its D.C. destination as well as learn more about New Mexico and Carson National Forest.

Many people stopped by to check the tree out and leave messages despite the dreary weather. 

Capitol Christmas Tree in Knoxville 2019
WBIR
Event by U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree and City of Knoxville Special Events on Friday, November 22 2019

It's next and final stop before arriving in Washington on Monday: White's Travel Center in Raphine, Virginia.

You can track the tree's journey in real time online. 

Each year a national forest is selected to share a tree with the nation. In 1972, Cherokee National Forest had its chance and presented a 50-foot Balsam Fir.