Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Donated by 9/11 First Responder

By DNAinfo Staff on November 11, 2010 3:46pm

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting on Dec. 2, 2009.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting on Dec. 2, 2009.
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Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

By Mariel S. Clark

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN — This year's Rockefeller Center Christmas tree comes from the home of a New York firefighter and 9/11 first responder, according to media reports.

The 74-foot Norway spruce was cut down on Thursday from the Mahopac, N.Y. backyard of Peter Acton, a firefighter who works at Engine 79 in the Bronx, according to the New York Post.

Acton, 38, is a 12-year veteran of the FDNY and was a first responder at Ground Zero, the Daily News reported.

What's more, Rockefeller Center tree-hunters first approached Acton and his family about the tree on Sept. 11, the Post reported.

"[The anniversary of ] 9/11 is a tough day for any firefighter, but to be asked to donate the tree on that day gives us a least one bright memory," Acton told the paper.

Watching the 12-ton tree being cut down was a bittersweet moment for Acton and his family.

"It was tough to see it cut down, it was like an extra room in our house," he told the Post. "We have had my picnics and barbecues underneath its shade. I'm glad that other people will get enjoyment from it."

The tree will be driven by flatbed truck to Rockefeller Plaza where it will be put into place on Friday.

The annual tree lighting will take place on Nov. 30.