Cherry Blossom Trees in Washington D.C

In 1912 The government of Japan gifted the people of USA the cheery blossoms trees as a symbol of Friendship and love, The Cherry blossom trees or “Sakura” symbolizes the vanishing of the human life and represents the transformation of the Japanese culture through out ages

The tree of Sakura, or the cherry blossoms, has an important symbolic comparation for life and the seasons for the Japanese. Throughout Spring, Summer and fall the Sakura tree grows with little obvious change above ground. Throughout winter the Sakura struggle the weathers conditions.

For just three weeks of the year, as the seasons shift from winter to spring the Sakura blossoms. This is where the fruits of the growth during the year are shown. The tree gives it’s all in rhythm its energy into a flourish of gentle blossoms; modest but beautiful flowers with a barely noticeable fragrance.

The Japanese also estimate the Sakura is the most beautiful not when it is in full bloom, but when it starts to wither and fall.  The detaching of the Sakura has appeared in so many haiku and poems of Japan.  Spring winds may blow all the blooms away in just one night.

 The Japanese see in its death the true self-sacrificing spirit of the Samurai.  Samurai promised their life to the service of their Lord. In battle they thought nothing of dying for their cause, and yet did not carelessly give their lives away.  They fought with the spirit of the Sakura.

The short life and beauty of the blossom has been used as a symbol for humanity and this is an important symbol in Japanese culture.

On December 11th, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, criminals were caught chopping down the Cherry Trees that had been given as a gift by the Japanese Government. They were never identified, only that there were four of them.

Later in the year, there was a push directed at the National Capital Parks Commission to have them all torn down and replaced with “an American variety.” Cooler heads prevailed and the Japanese Cherry Trees remained, though they were re-named ‘Oriental Cherry Trees’ for the next six years. The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival was also abandoned and not resumed till after the war, partly due to austerity and partly due to the animosity to anything Japanese.

Interesting side note: The cherry trees came from a river stock that was near Tokyo. In 1952, when the original grove began to fail, Americans helped by sending fresh cuttings to re-invigored the site.

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