Growing Friendship

Alex Hara is a Japanese-born businessman living in Dayton, Ohio. When a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami shook his homeland in 2011, he watched the devastation on television helplessly from thousands of miles away. Though saddened by the events, he was inspired by the rapid response of the American military and the willingness of the American people to donate their money, products, and time to people half a world away.

This was the birth of Operation 1000 Cherry Trees.

A Letter from The Honorary Chair
Former Ohio Governor Robert Taft
Honorary Chairperson, 1000 Cherry Trees

In 1912, the country of Japan gave over 3,000 cherry blossom trees as a gift to the United States to celebrate the two nations’ then-growing friendship. My great-grandfather, William Howard Taft, proudly accepted the gift on behalf of the citizens of the United States. The first two cherry trees were planted by Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador, and First Lady Helen Herron Taft, who had become an enthusiastic advocate for the project. Those beautiful cherry blossom trees still exist famously today along the tidal basin in Washington D.C.

This year, on the 100th anniversary of that historic gift, I’m proud to serve as the Honorary Chairperson of Operation 1000 Cherry Trees, Alex Hara’s ambitious movement to re-create that symbolic gesture here in the Ohio.

I urge you to support this effort, not only as a way to beautify our local communities, but also to make a statement that the seeds of world peace and friendship can be planted anywhere, and will continue to grow long after we’re gone.

Thank you for your support of this noble cause.