The cherry blossom trees, which now epitomize DC as much as the Washington Monument, were a gift from the Mayor of Tokyo in 1912. Some 3000 Japanese cherry blossom trees were planted around the Tidal Basin in DC and Sakura Park (Sakura is Japanese for cherry blossom.) in Manhattan. The first two trees were planted by Mrs. Taft and the wife of the Japanese ambassador. In the late 60s, Lady Bird Johnson was presented with over 3000 more trees. Then, in the early 80s, massive flooding in Japan destroyed much of the native horticulture. Cuttings from the Tidal Basin trees were given back to Japan to continue the line.
This is probably the first of many cherry blossom-related posts (okay, the second) that will appear over the coming weeks. But as I walked through campus today, it was evident that spring is finally here, and I couldn't resist taking my phone out for a shot. I was also reminded of the very reason why cherry blossoms are dear to DC--the perpetual gift between friends. After the disastrous events of the last week, and the still horribly uncertain future, the cherry blossoms remain as a testament to that friendship and a symbol of hope, of life vibrantly reappearing after the bitter winter wanes, and of the resiliency of a people who will someday overcome.