Every year the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, blossom in spectacular scenery signaling the coming of spring. While I have lived most of my life in the Washington DC area, I don’t recall ever seeing the cherry trees in full bloom. Now that I am retired and have free weekdays, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to experience this scenery, especially when the blooms were in their peak. So Thursday, March 24, 2016, Mary Ann and I prepared to battle the crowds and witness this event. We parked at Reagan National Airport in Virginia and rode our bikes to DC to the Tidal Basin. It was a perfect day – mid 70s and sunny. Adjacent to the Tidal Basin is the Jefferson Memorial and within view is the Washington Monument. While it was crowded, there was no problem getting around, even with our bikes. Many people were dressed up taking family pictures. From the Tidal Basin we rode our bikes round Haines Point, where the trees (I think these were cherry trees) were in full bloom.
The history of the cherry blossoms begins in 1912 when Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo presented 3000 cherry trees to the United States. Every year the gift and the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries.
After posting on Facebook, my sisters seem to have a memory of our family going to see the cherry blossoms when we were kids. The back story is that when I was a kid, our family was late for Easter sunrise service. So Mom packed us all up in the car and drove us down to the Tidal Basin. My sisters even remember that I was the one who was so tired that I forgot to remove my pajama top before putting a shirt over it. After seeing the cherry trees we went to a later service. So it may be true that I have seen the cherry blossoms before, but it was about 50 years ago – I may have been 9 or 10 at the time, so it shouldn’t count.