High winds topple National Christmas tree

WASHINGTON Sat Feb 19, 2011 6:27pm EST

The National Christmas Tree is seen with the White House in the background after U.S. President Barack Obama and his family helped light it, in Washington December 9, 2010. REUTERS/Molly Riley

The National Christmas Tree is seen with the White House in the background after U.S. President Barack Obama and his family helped light it, in Washington December 9, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Molly Riley

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - America's National Christmas Tree came tumbling down on Saturday in a windstorm that battered the capital.

The 47-year-old, 42-foot-high Colorado blue spruce, which the president lit each year to mark the Christmas season, snapped near its base on the Ellipse near the White House.

"We're glad that there are no injuries," said Bill Line, a spokesman for the National Park Service.

"We're glad that it took place at a time when people were away from the tree and we are saddened that it has happened," he told Washington TV station WRC4.

Line said a new tree would be up in time for next Christmas.

(Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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