Ann McClellan wrote her book Cherry Blossom Festival: Sakura Celebration in 2012, at the 100th anniversary of the first cherry trees gifted from Japan in 1912. As she said, people from any cultural background would appreciate in the same way the beauty of cherry blossoms. It tells us however chilly the winter we just had, the hope of spring would come to us anyway. And it also reminds us of our life, which can be gone as quickly as these blossoms, so cherish it and appreciate it when we can.
Flowering cherry trees were not common in the United States in 1900. American visitors to Japan found their beauty remarkable and journalist Eliza Scidmore was inspired to have these trees planted in Washington, D.C. She and David Fairchild, a botanist at the Department of Agriculture and plant explorer, were interested in beautifying the city’s landscape. in 1909 the project was endorsed at the highest level by First Lady Helen Herron Taft, who had seen photographs of the flowering trees from Japan. The first gift of trees from the city of Tokyo to the city of Washington, D.C. arrived the next year.
However, the first shipment of two thousand cherry trees had to be destroyed entirely because of the insects and nematodes found on the trees. Then on March 26, 1912, a new shipment of more than 3,000 healthy trees arrived. From then on for more than 100 years, they have been bringing the overwhelming beauty to every spring of Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C.
Today, the moment I saw some newest photos of cherry blossoms my friend took on this weekend, it immediately made my heartbeat stop. I become speechless, as usual, but struggled to write a few words down, on this date of the 110th anniversary, 2022.