Sunday, July 3, 2011

3-25-11 The cherry blossom festival

In the face of the terrible tragedy in Japan I understand that a number of traditional ceremonies have been canceled. It is ironic that the cherry festival will be proceeding in Washington, DC. The cherry blossom in Japan has long been seen as symbolizing the brief beauty of life. Cherry blossom trees in Washington that donated to our country by Japan in 1912. At that time our two nations regard each other with respect and friendship. When World War II began there were calls to destroy the cherry trees as a symbolic gesture of the enmity to ground between us. Thankfully, this was not done. And so today, the trees are a symbol not only of the briefness of life, but if the ability of two nations to come back together in friendship even after a terrible war.

As this nation celebrates the cherry blossom festival in our capital we will surely remember the suffering of Japan and the courage of her people.

I wrote the above on the date indicated. In the time that has passed since then, so much has changed. the whole world is questioning nuclear power and the Japanese people are wondering if their dedication to harmony has been abused by a government which failed to regulate the nuclear industry and protect its citizens. An article by Stephen Bezruchka makes the point that, “The most important of all Japanese social values is "wa," or harmony...” But at what price? The Japanese people must decide. In any event, my thoughts, prayers and support remain with them.

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