The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw loaded 1,300 Christmas trees onto the ship Tuesday at its home-port of Cheboygan, Mich., in preparation for the 2012 Christmas Ship celebration.
The trees will then be transported aboard Mackinaw to Chicago, where they will be offloaded during a special two-day ceremony and then delivered to needy families.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the wreck of the schooner Rouse Simmons, the original Christmas Ship, which sank between Kewaunee and Two Rivers, Wis., on Nov. 23, 1912 in a storm during its transit to Chicago.
To mark this anniversary, a special collection of 100 trees from an area outside of Two Rivers, where the Rouse Simmons launched, are set to be included.
During the transit to Chicago, the crew of Mackinaw will toss a wreath into Lake Michigan near the resting place of the Rouse Simmons.