The Grand Daddy of them All
Perhaps the most famous Christmas Tree in America is the Rockefeller Center tree. An annual tradition since 1933 when construction workers building Rockefeller Center erected a small tree as a symbol of hope for themselves and others during those bleak days of the Great Depression.
Through the years the tree has always symbolized joy and hope for all New Yorkers. In 1941 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the tree was allowed to stay lit because the lights happened to all be all on one switch and could easily be extinguished in the event of an air raid. During the remaining years of World War II there were no lights on the tree, but it stood year after year just the same. More recently in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks, the tree was decked out in red, white and blue lights as a symbol of patriotism.
For me as kid growing up no trip to New York at Christmas time was complete without taking in the view of the magnificent tree and filing past Sak's Fifth Avenue's windows on our way to the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City.
Even today, hardened New Yorker that I am, there are other tourist sights I turn my nose up at or have never even seen, but the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is something I make it a point to see every year. It simply isn't Christmas without it.