A Patriotic Christmas for the Big Apple
Wednesday's 69th annual lighting of New York's Rockefeller Center Christmas tree inspired wide smiles from First Lady Laura Bush, who visited the city to join Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for the ceremony and to flip the giant candy-cane covered switch, reports PEOPLE. Moments before 30,000 tiny red, white and blue bulbs lit up the 81-foot Norway spruce, the grinning First Lady made her way to the stage. "It's great to be in New York City," said Bush. "This is what all Americans think of in the holiday season. America loves New York. The magic has returned to the Big Apple, and it's time to turn on the lights." Bush's appearance followed live performances by Marc Anthony, Destiny's Child and John Mellencamp. Tony Bennett, Jewel and U.S. Olympic ice skaters Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman also performed. The event was more somber than usual, however. "This is really a salute to the heroes, traditions, strengths and unity of the United States of America," said Giuliani, referring to the firefighters, police officers and thousands of others who died on Sept. 11. Glenn Close, Kevin Bacon, Vanessa Williams, Valerie Harper and Jesse Martin of "Law and Order" were among the other celebrities who also joined in to show their support.
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