PHOTOS: President and first lady attend National Christmas Tree lighting

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President Donald Trump speaks as first lady Melania Trump looks on during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony held by the National Park Service at the Ellipse near the White House on Nov. 28, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Pool-Oliver Contreras/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump speaks as first lady Melania Trump looks on during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony held by the National Park Service at the Ellipse near the White House on Nov. 28, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Pool-Oliver Contreras/Getty Images)

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the nation’s capital.

President Trump led a countdown for the lighting of the National Christmas Tree on Wednesday, and first lady Melania Trump hit the switch to illuminate the decked-out spruce in President’s Park, just south of the White House.

“Merry Christmas, everybody,” the president said. “We just have to say it all together: Merry, merry Christmas.”

It’s the 96th straight year for the presidential tradition.

Speaking at the close of the event — which featured musical performances by LOCASH, Spensha Baker, Gabby Barrett, Abby Anderson and others — Trump paused to recognize the victims of disasters across the country this year.

“Our thoughts turn to those who are rebuilding their lives after devastating wildfires, destructive hurricanes and terrible tragedy,” he said. “We are one American family, and we hurt together, and we heal together, and we will always pull through together.”

Singer Gabby Barrett performs during the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
Singer Gabby Barrett performs during the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump also honored foster families at the ceremony and first responders, as well as members of the military and their loved ones.

“Their families are all our families,” he said.

The president’s children Don Jr. and Tiffany; daughter-in-law Lara Trump; Don Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke were also present.

The first national tree lighting took place on Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators.

The National Christmas Tree is a living Colorado blue spruce. It is surrounded by 56 smaller trees featuring ornaments from every state and territory and the District of Columbia. (AP)

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The National Christmas Tree is lit following a ceremony at the Ellipse near the White House in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)
The National Christmas Tree is lit following a ceremony at the Ellipse near the White House in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)
President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump gives a thumbs up to a performer during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the Ellipse near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)
President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump gives a thumbs up to a performer during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the Ellipse near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump leave after attending the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump leave after attending the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump, right, watches as host Antonio Sabato Jr., left, and first lady Melania Trump, second from left, light the National Christmas Tree during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the Ellipse near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)
President Donald Trump, right, watches as host Antonio Sabato Jr., left, and first lady Melania Trump, second from left, light the National Christmas Tree during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the Ellipse near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)
The National Christmas Tree is lighted on Wednesday in Washington. (Photo: Jim Young/Reuters)
The National Christmas Tree is lighted on Wednesday in Washington. (Photo: Jim Young/Reuters)
A girl cries in the cold temperature during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the Ellipse near the White House in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)
A girl cries in the cold temperature during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the Ellipse near the White House in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump at the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump at the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
President Trump at the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Pool-Oliver Contreras/Getty Images)
President Trump at the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Pool-Oliver Contreras/Getty Images)
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
The president looks on as Tiffany Trump, center, Donald Trump Jr., third from right, Kimberly Guilfoyle, second from right, and Eric Trump smile during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)
The president looks on as Tiffany Trump, center, Donald Trump Jr., third from right, Kimberly Guilfoyle, second from right, and Eric Trump smile during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)
Melania Trump and President Trump attend a cold National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the Ellipse near the White House in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)
Melania Trump and President Trump attend a cold National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the Ellipse near the White House in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)
Eric Trump and Tiffany Trump welcome their father, President Trump, and first lady Melania Trump to the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Pool-Oliver Contreras/Getty Images)
Eric Trump and Tiffany Trump welcome their father, President Trump, and first lady Melania Trump to the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Pool-Oliver Contreras/Getty Images)
People arrive for the National Christmas Tree lighting outside the White House Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
People arrive for the National Christmas Tree lighting outside the White House Washington on Wednesday. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the U.S. Secret Service stand guard atop a truck prior to the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony near the White House on Wednesday in Washington. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Members of the U.S. Secret Service stand guard atop a truck prior to the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony near the White House on Wednesday in Washington. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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