Looking toward the Lee Mansion, with cherry blossoms in bloom.
Nation's Capital Celebrates
Centennial of Cherry Blossoms
by: Bobby McDonald
If you've ever been to our nation's capital, Washington D.C., during the springtime, for the sight of the town clothed in cherry blossoms, you're certain to remember the breathtaking beauty of this national landmark.
Well, 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. What began in 1912 with a gift from Tokyo, Japan, of 3000 cherry trees, has become a national treasure, as the trees "took root" in our nation's capital and began a national tradition of traveling to Washington D.C. to view their natural beauty. To celebrate the centennial of the original plantings of the cherry trees, this year's festival will be extended from March 20th - April 27th, 2012. The 100th anniversary of the gift from Japan will be celebrated with a parade on April 14, 2012, that will highlight springtime in Washington D.C.
The original trees were a gift in 1912, during the President William Henry Taft administration and were planted throughout the downtown area of Washington D.C. Then, during 1967 and the Lyndon Johnson administration, First Lady Ladybird Johnson, a naturalist and Texas native, oversaw the planting of additional trees in the Washington D.C. area.
On March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Taft, the wife of President William Howard Taft, and Viscountess Iwa Chinda, who was married to the Japanese ambassador to the United States, planted two cherry blossom trees in West Potomac Park, a green space on the banks of the Potomac River not far from the National Mall.
The next month, more trees were planted along the Tidal Basin and into Rock Creek Park, the vast urban park that stretches through the capital. Eighteen cherry trees were soon planted on the White House grounds, and a tradition of springtime in our nation's capital was born. Today, we celebrate 100 years of friendship with Japan and the breathtaking beauty of our nation's capital.
Annually, both national and international visitors plan their trips to Washington D.C. to celebrate cherry blossom time, and this year record numbers are expected to arrive in the nation's capital to celebrate this 100th anniversary.
Make plans to attend this festival, if you're traveling to our nation's capital!