The Japanese Cherry tress have become a icon in the city with their gorgeous pink and white flowers whose bloom peaks each spring, although it’s sometimes hard to predict when they’ll flower. But as countless families celebrate the tree’s beauty this year, there is a much deeper meaning coming not just from recent events but from the history of these trees.
The lovely Japanese Cherry trees were first gifted to the United States back in 1910, 2000 of them. But then it was found that they were infected by insects and disease. The President at the time – William Taft – had them destroyed. Apologies were sent to the Japanese ambassador and they sent a new batch of healthier trees which were planted and have thrived since the day they were planted back on March 28th, 1912.
And the United States returned the favor of the gift of the trees. After World War Two, war torn Japan was rebuilding and the U.S. harvested bud wood from the Tidal Basin and sent it to Japan to replenish a famed Cherry tree grove that has been destroyed. And now it’s time to give back again.
This year, with the devastation that has hit Japan, the Cherry Blossom festival will have a new meaning. A new call to rebuild. And this year the organizers of the Cherry Blossom festival are urging for attendees to make a financial contribution to the Red Cross. Through celebrating the beauty of these trees, the festival will also celebrate the people of Japan. And what better time to give a contribution?