RED RIVER, N.M. (AP) - A 60-foot (18-meter) 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.

One of those stops will be in Chattanooga at Miller Park, November 21 0 but it will be brief, from 11:45am-12:45pm.

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

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.