Crews clean up the debris from the city of Birmingham's Christmas tree in Linn Park, which was set afire by thieves early Wednesday.
Apparently, the person that did this was looking to strip the tree of its lights, and the lights of the copper in their wiring. I can't imagine that the wiring from a few strings of lights would yield a great enough quantity of copper to make such an undertaking worth the time and effort involved, but I suppose when you're short on both scruples and brains, even the most idiotic of schemes seems like a gem.
City officials didn't have many details Wednesday, but they said that, about 4 a.m., someone took the lights off the tree and apparently began using gasoline to try to separate the copper from the plastic casing.
The fuel ignited.
"The fuel ignited." Imagine that. By the time the firefighters showed up, the tree was in ashes. The tree, which cost $7,500 was not going to be replaced by the city, the charred stump instead being covered by another symbol of the holiday season...
...the festive holiday Christmas cone. Feel the wonder. This guy did.
...And this is where the story gets good. You see, like in The Grinch, Christmas couldn't be stolen by someone whose heart was three sizes to small. The citizens of the city, the businesses, and radio stations all came together to make sure that the people of Birmingham could see a tree shining from Linn Park again, and soon.
As a result, little more than 24 hours after the tree was destroyed, shining holiday lights and ornaments will return to Linn Park this morning, a donation of radio station 98.7 Kiss FM and a quickly formed consortium of neighboring cities, business and individuals.
It wasn't so much about the tree as it was that people felt compelled to do something, to take something sad and make it glad. Now, to me, as a Christian, Christmas is about more than a fancy tree, pretty lights, or beautiful gifts, and nothing can steal that, not a Grinch, not a thief, not getting stuck with a fruitcake at the family gift exchange, but still, in a time when so many are concerned with the economy, terrorism, and the strife of politics, it's nice to see people come together, put their differences aside, and make sure that at least for a little while, all is bright.
acnatta's flickr (Linn Park 2006)
"Christmas day will always be
Just so long as we have we
Fahoo fores dahoo dores
Welcome Christmas bring your light."
Dr. Seuss-The Grinch That Stole Christmas
All quotes and images from The Birmingham News unless otherwise noted.