James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power.

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Friday File: Cherry Trees Blossom in Washington, DC

by James M. Lindsay
The cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin are in full bloom in Washington, DC. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters) The cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin are in full bloom in Washington, DC. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters)

Above the Fold. Washington, DC, owes a huge debt of gratitude to Tokyo. It was one hundred years ago next Tuesday that Japan’s largest city gave our nation’s capital 3,000 cherry trees to plant along the banks of the Tidal Basin. (No, George Washington did not plant them, and no, he did not cut down any cherry trees. That story was invented by Parson Mason Weems who wrote a not-quite-accurate biography of Washington shortly after America’s greatest president died.) First lady Helen Taft and Viscountess Chinda, the wife of the Japanese Ambassador, planted the first two trees. Thanks to the splendid caretaking of the National Park Service, the trees have thrived. Seeing them in full bloom brings to mind the lovely words that Henry Wadworth Longfellow wrote long ago: Read more »