RED RIVER, N.M. — A 60-foot blue spruce was cut down Wednesday during a ceremony in a forested canyon in northern New Mexico, starting a 2½-week journey that will take it to the U.S. Capitol to be this year's Christmas tree.

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.

The tree will tour New Mexico before leaving on a trip scheduled to conclude Nov. 24 at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington.

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

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Each year a national forest is selected to share a tree with the nation.

Christmas tree US capitol New Mexico
The 2019 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree tree cutting ceremony took place Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, just on the east side of Red River, New Mexico.
AP