The cherry trees of Washington, DC attract tourists each spring with their blossoms. The cherry trees were a gift from Japan in 1912 as a sign of friendship and are now almost as famous as the flowers of the country of origin. After receiving the cherry trees, the United States responded under President William Howard Taft by sending flowering dogwood trees.
Cherry trees have become a staple of the DC skyline and a symbol of the Japanese-American relationship. In the days following the attack on Pearl Harbor, however, some of DC’s tree branches were snapped off in retaliation. According to the National Park Service, in the 1980s, a flood in Japan destroyed much of this variety of cherry trees, but Japanese horticulturalists were able to restore some of the lost trees using hundreds of cuttings from the trees in Washington, DC.