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Photographs by Mel Evans/AP; at right, Bill Varanyak holds a photograph of his mother Mary

Rockefeller Center got its 2008 Christmas tree, as a 72-foot Norway spruce from Hamilton, NJ arrived this morning. You can see it come in--with Al Roker--in this video:

The tree has a touching history: The Star-Ledger reports that it was first Mary and Joseph Varanyak's Christmas tree in 1931; the couple then planted the live tree (it was in a pot) outside their home. Their son Bob Varanyak said his mother, who passed away a few years ago, had dreamed of this honor, "She always said this tree will be in Rockefeller Center. If it was going to be cut down, it was going to be because it was going to Rockefeller Center." His twin brother Bill added, "She would go out and put manure around it. She said it would one day be in New York, and later on when she got older, I took care of it. We were always worried, as it grew taller and taller, it would get knocked down in a storm or something."

The Today show also has a cute video of Bob and Bill Varanyak--it's after the jump. And the tree will be lit on Wednesday, December 3--with performances by Beyonce, Tony Bennett, the Jonas Brothers, Harry Connick Jr., David Cook and Rosie O'Donnell--and will be on display through January 9, 2009.