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7am stumper 3-25-14

The buds still are not open on the cherry trees in Washington, D.C., but the national festival to honor the annual springtime event is blossoming. This year marks the 102nd anniversary of the gift of thousands of cherry trees from Japan as a symbol of friendship with the United States. There is a local tie to the cherry trees.  First Lady Helen Taft, married to President William Howard Taft -- who was from Cincinnati -- participated in the ceremony to plant those first cherry trees.

How many cherry trees from original planting in Washington, D.C. have survived?
1.  two
2. four
3. six

The answer is 1. two

Only two trees were planted in the original ceremony 102 years ago, and both have survived. According to the website for the National Park Service, three thousand cherry trees were shipped from Japan to be planted in Washington, D.C. in 1912. On March 27th, the website says First Lady Helen Herron Taft and the wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted two yoshino cherry trees about 125 feet south of what is now Independence Avenue, SW. Washington's renowned National Cherry Blossom Festival grew from that little ceremony, which was witnessed by just a few people. These two original trees still stand several hundred yards west of the John Paul Jones Memorial.  A large bronze plaque commemorates the occasion.

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