An American in Europe

09 December

Trafalgar Square Tree Lighting Ceremony - That’s it? -

Americans know how to put on a show, I’ve learned.

In Christmastime, New York has a huge affair to light the Rockefeller Center tree: celebrities, glitz, glamour, Rockettes . . . and thousands of colored lights on a beautiful tree.

Even D.C. dresses to impress, with a large tree and more than 50 smaller trees representing the states and territories. The President pushes the button to light the tree, and politicians and celebrities attend. Loud songs. Crowds.

So I went to the Trafalgar Square tree lighting ceremony last week in hopes of seeing a Rockefeller Center-style ceremony. I mean, it’s Europe’s largest city, after all. But the ceremony was . . . not quite that.

Every year, Norway gives the tree as a gift to London to thank them for their help during the War. Some politicians from both sides gave little speeches to tribute the countries’ friendship. Then a local charity church group sang hymns and the crowd quietly joined in.

I poked someone next to me, and whispered, ``Is the Queen here?’’

She wasn’t.

Then, finally they turned on the lights. No ooohs. No ahhhhs. I was completely ``under-whelmed’’ to steal a phrase from a colleague.

Here's the tree framed by the Trafalgar fountain statues.

Photo:  Trafalgar Tree
(London – I love you anyway.)

Note to Americans: Stonehenge is smaller than you think, and so is everything else.
posted at 13:38:56 on 12/09/04 by ajluvsu - Category: General


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