WASHINGTON — First lady Michelle Obama today marked the 100th anniversary of the gift of the Japanese cherry blossoms in Washington, by planting a new tree along the Potomac River.
She also planted the idea that it could be a man holding the ceremonial shovel, 100 years from now.
“I hope that on that day, the first lady — or the first gentleman — of 2112 will also have the privilege of joining with our friends from Japan, and planting another tree which will bloom for yet another 100 years and beyond,” she said during a ceremony, before tossing some dirt over the roots of a 5-year-old sapling.
The cherry trees, which were a gift to the American people from Japan in 1912, have become springtime icons in the nation’s capital.
They serve as a “symbol of the great friendship between the U.S. and Japan, and as a reminder of our shared hopes, dreams and aspirations,” Obama said. “So on this historic anniversary, we don’t just admire the beauty of these trees, we also admire their resilience.”
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki and National Cherry Blossom Festival president Diana Mayhew joined Obama for the commemoration.