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DC’s Enduring Love of Cherry Blossoms


Here is a post I put together as a school assignment for our class blog GlobalDC: uncovering “the international within the nation’s capital.”


Though the peak bloom for DC’s cherry blossoms has come and gone, there are still plenty of bursts of pink and white scattered throughout the city to please locals and tourists alike. But the sakura trees did not travel all the way from Japan solely for springtime aesthetics; they were diplomatic gifts from the People of Japan to the people of the United States in 1912. Since then the photogenic flora has enjoyed near-constant popularity – the sole exception occurring after the bombing at Pearl Harbor when the trees were dubbed “Oriental” flowering cherry trees (“Freedom fries” anyone?). Otherwise they have endured as symbols of American-Japanese friendship, and in 2011 some 120 descendants of the original trees were sent to Japan to ensure a continued lineage.

As pink petals yield to green leaves, we bid farewell to another resplendent season of cherry blossoms.

Photos by Sophie Massie. 

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