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Washington Cherry Trees ATOS 6.0

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Washington Cherry Trees

Over a hundred years ago the city of Tokyo, Japan sent the city of Washington, D.C. a gift. The gift was cherry blossom trees. Cherry tree in Japanese is 'sakura.' The tree is a symbol of life. Today, 3,000 cherry blossom trees bloom in Washington, D.C. Eliza Skidmore first suggested planting the trees. She was a travel writer and photographer who had travelled to Japan. She wrote to First Lady Helen Herron Taft about her idea. Japan learned of the First Lady's interest. A gift of 2,000 trees was given to Washington, D.C. Sadly these trees were burned as they had a disease. Then in 1912, Japan made a new gift of 3,000 healthy trees. These were healthy. These could be planted. On March 27, 1912, the First Lady and the wife of the Japanese Ambassador planted the first two cherry blossom trees. The two original trees are still standing. At their bases is a plaque about the event. From 1913 to 1920, workers planted more cherry trees.

Today, tourists from all over America come to experience the cherry trees. A two week-long spring festival celebrates the friendship between both countries and the beauty of the cherry blossoms. The celebration begins with the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. There are balloons, floats, and marching bands from across America. Over a two week period many events are held including sumo demonstrations and pop concerts. But the main attraction is the beautiful cherry trees. People walk beneath the cherry trees enjoying the sweet scent. They rent peddle boats and glide down the Potomac River under the canopies created by the blooming trees. Others choose to stroll or ride bikes. Perhaps one day you will visit Washington, D.C.

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