Senator Inouye Lies in State at Capitol (Photos)

December 21, 2012

Senator Daniel Inouye lies in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington D.C. on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. There, his colleagues and members of the public would pay their respects to the Senate’s second-longest serving member. The Democrat from Hawaii was a Medal of Honor recipient for valor in World War II. He died Monday from respiratory ailments at age 88. Lying in state is an honor typically reserved for presidents, bestowed only 31 times since the 1800s. Draped in the American Flag, Inouye’s casket sat beneath the Capitol dome, atop the Lincoln catafalque, the platform built in 1865 to support Abraham Lincoln’s casket when that president’s body lay in state.

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National Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Ceremony on the Ellipse (Photos)

A lighting ceremony took place for the National Hanukkah Menorah, the world’s largest, on the Ellipse, just across from the White House on the second night (first day) of the eight-day Jewish holiday. Candles were lit on Sunday Dec. 9, 2012 by special guest, acting Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients. The United States Navy Band and “The Three Cantors” performed. The National Menorah Lighting dates to 1979 when Jimmy Carter was president. Hanukkah celebrates the Jewish Maccabees’ military victory over Greek-Syrian oppression more than 2,000 years ago. A candle is lit each night of the eight-day celebration, commemorating the miracle of one day’s supply of oil lasting a full eight days in the lamp following the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. This annual event is sponsored by American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) [gallery ids="101093,137870,137876,137882,137889,137896,137902,137908,137915,137862,137856,137850,137943,137823,137938,137933,137830,137928,137836,137842,137922" nav="thumbs"]

President Obama and First Family Light Up National Christmas Tree (photo gallery)

Barack Obama and the first family flicked the switch to light up the new National Christmas Tree before an estimated crowd of 17,000 on the Ellipse, just south of the White House in Washington D.C., Dec. 6. Colbie Caillat, Jason Mraz, Ledisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Rico Rodriguez, Phillip Phillips and James Taylor were among the featured performers along with the Washington Performing Arts Society gospel choir, the U.S. Navy Band Commodores, the Midtown Men, stars from the original Broadway cast of “Jersey Boys.”

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Wreaths Across America Honors Our Veterans (photo gallery)

December 20, 2012

More than 110,000 wreaths, donated by Wreaths Across America, were laid at Arlington National Cemetery Dec. 15 for the 21st annual event. About 27,000 volunteers helped place the wreaths throughout the cemetery. Morrill Worcester, president of Worcester Wreath Company, based in Harrington, Maine, started this annual event in 1992 to honor our nation’s fallen heroes. Morrill marked a special milestone Saturday by presenting the program’s one millionth wreath to Gold Star mother Mary Byers, whose son, Army Capt. Joshua Byers, was killed in Afghanistan in 2003. Participating in the ceremony were: Wayne Hanson, chairman of the board for Wreaths Across America; Kathryn A. Condon, executive director, Army National Cemeteries Program; Maine Gov. Paul LePage and his wife Ann; Rear Admiral Harold L. Robinson, a rabbi and former chaplain; and Lt. Col. Thomas Helms, the senior Army Chaplain at Arlington National Cemetery. Country artists Lindsay Lawler and Chris Roberts sang “God Bless America.”

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Santas Descend on the Washington Mall for Santarchy 2012 (photos)

We caught up with Santarchy on the steps of the National Museum of Natural History Dec. 15. Santarchy takes place every year in major cities all over the world, involving tens of thousands of Santa Clauses. They are a self-described “non-profit, non-political, non-religious and non-sensical celebration of holiday cheer, goodwill, and fun. There is no good reason to dress up in cheap Santa suits, run around town, give gifts, sing songs, have strangers sit on our laps, and decide who is naughty or nice — but it’s a lot of fun. So, Santa does it anyway. Everyone loves Santa, and Santa loves everyone. Santarchy is your chance to be Santa, so step up and be jolly.”

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Capitol & Union Station Tree Lightings (photos)

December 13, 2012

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony took place on the West Front Lawn on Tuesday December 4. In 1964, House Speaker John W. McCormack suggested to J. George Stewart, Architect of the Capitol, that a Christmas tree be placed on the Capitol Grounds. The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service has provided the trees since 1970. This year’s tree is a 73-foot Engelmann Spruce from the White River National Forest, near Meeker, Colorado. The tree was decorated with thousands of ornaments handcrafted by the people of Colorado. The tree will be lit from nightfall until 11:00 PM each evening through December 26. The tree arrived and was erected on the Capitolg grounds on November 26 after completing a 5500 mile journey. The lead truck was piloted by former United States senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Ryan Shuster, a senior at Discovery Canyon Campus in Colorado Springs, pushed the button to light the tree.

The Norwegian Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Union Station was also held on Tuesday, December 4th. True to tradition, the Royal Norwegian Embassy gave a Christmas tree to the people of Washington, D.C. as a symbol of friendship between the United States and Norway. It also expresses Norway’s gratitude for assistance received from the United States during and after World War II. The Children’s Chorus of Washington performed. Due to damage to the building from the August 2011 earthquake, Union Station is currently under construction and seasonal decorations are limited. The Norwegian Christmas tree could not be erected inside the station this year, so the lighting ceremony was held outside the West Hall, on the porch facing 1st Street by the west exit of the Union Station Metro station.

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President Obama Speaks on Veterans Day at Arlington Cemetery (photos)

November 26, 2012

Fresh off of his election victory on Nov. 6, President Barack Obama opened his Veterans Day address at Arlington National Cemetery on Nov. 11 with these words. “Each year, on the 11th day of the 11th month, we pause –- as a nation, and as a people –- to pay tribute to you. To thank you. To honor you, the heroes, over the generations, who have served this country of ours with distinction.”

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Washington International Horse Show (Photo Highlights)

November 9, 2012

The Washington International Horse Show, one of the leading equestrian events in the country, celebrated its 54th year Oct. 23 through 28 at the Verizon Center, attracting leading horses and riders from around the world with more than $400,000 in prize money. Eighteen-year-old U.S. Olympian Reed Kessler took the major prize with a top finish in the $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix on Saturday night. The $25,000 Open Jumper Puissance was the highlight class of the preceding evening with a win for 19-year-old Belgian rider Olivier Philippaerts and horse Chicago VH Moleneind. They were the only horse and rider out of six entries to clear a wall of seven feet in height.

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Affirmative Action Brought Before Supreme Court (photos)

November 6, 2012

The Supreme Court heard a challenge to its long-standing ruling that race may be considered as a factor in the college admissions process (affirmative action) on Oct. 10. Justices debated the case of Fisher v. University of Texas. A white student, Abigail Fisher, brought the case after her application to the University of Texas-Austin was rejected in 2008. In her lawsuit, she questioned whether the university’s admissions system uses race unnecessarily. The outcome could have major implications for higher education.

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Football Hoyas Fall to Brown Before a Sellout Crowd (Photos)

October 11, 2012

The Georgetown Hoyas (3-2) and third string quarterback Stephen Skon could not keep up with the Brown Bears before a sellout homecoming crowd of over 3,000 at Multi-Sport Field. Spiro Theodhosi rushed for 142 yards and one touchdown and Patrick Donnelly threw for two scores as Brown pulled away from Georgetown 37-10. Georgetown’s first sting quarterback Isaiah Kempf has not yet been cleared for contact since suffering a concussion in the team’s first game, a victory against Davidson.

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