The 1962 lighting ceremony was a grand event witnessed by a crowd of 10,000 Hoosiers. Indianapolis Mayor Albert Losche was tapped to preside over the ceremony. He famously declared, “Let there be light,” before lighting the tree.

The Indianapolis Star famously referred to the artificial tree as “the world’s tallest Christmas tree.” They were not exaggerating. The Guinness World Record for the tallest artificial tree is set at 236 feet tall, a title held by the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The lights on the Soldiers and Sailors Monument tower above this record-holding tree, soaring to 254 feet.