Every year since 1971, the people of Nova Scotia have sent a Christmas tree to Boston to say thanks for the city's generosity in the days following the Halifax Explosion of 1917. Last night in Boston Common, hundreds gathered to watch the lighting ceremony for this year's tree, a 15-metre white spruce which came from the property of Mary Lou Milligan of Mill Cove, N.S. (See our previous story for photos of the tree being cut down.)
"It has always been an annual highlight to share this gift with the people of Boston and our guests from Nova Scotia," Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said in a statement. "This year's lighting celebration will have even more meaning as we remember the events of April 15 and dedicate Boston's official Christmas tree to those who lost their lives or were injured at the Marathon."