Everyone get ready. In a few short weeks, DC will welcome back one of it's most iconic visitors: the cherry blossoms. A gift from Japan in 1912, the annual festival will be even more spectacular as it celebrates its centennial.
People around here takes incredible pride in this unique event as the festival's official website (link provided above) shows. Make no mistake, though, this is not some neighborhood garden tour. Horticulturists from the NPS actually go around the Tidal Basin and monitor the bud stages of the trees to accurately predict just when the blossoms will bloom and reach their height. This year they're predicting the peak bloom date to be from the 24-31 of March, and the celebration itself lasts until the 27 of April. Amidst so much uncertainty in this city, it's nice to know at least some things are reliable.
These trees serve as a remarkable reminder of the importance of foreign relations. Indeed, you would be hard pressed to find a more recognizable gift from another nation anywhere across the country (the exception perhaps being the Statue of Liberty). Specifically to Japan, we should be reminded of the importance of our relationship with that country not just on a diplomatic level, but also on a humanitarian one.
Today marks the one year anniversary of the devastating tsunami that crippled the island nation. While the country has come a long way since that day, people are still struggling to move on, and others, especially farmers who lived near the Fukishima power plant, will never be able to go back to their normal lives. Those struggling in Japan should look to this event and take comfort knowing that, like the Sakura awakening from its winter slumber, a new beginning it not too far away.