News / USA

US Cherry Blossom Festival Begins With Fundraiser for Japan Quake Victims

Marchers walked along the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC in support of Japan's victims
Marchers walked along the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC in support of Japan's victims

Hundreds of people have marched among cherry blossoms in Washington as part of a fundraising effort for the victims of Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami.  

Classical music played as hundreds of people and dozens of journalists gathered near the National Monument on a cold and windy evening with blooming cherry trees in the background.

Some of those in attendance lined up at American Red Cross donation boxes to give money for the organization’s earthquake and tsunami relief effort.

During a welcoming speech, Japan’s ambassador to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki said search and rescue missions are ongoing in Japan

He says the damaged nuclear Fukushima complex is a huge problem to contend with, and that officials are struggling to provide food, water and shelter for those displaced.

"This is a very tough fight. But the consolation is that people around the world are trying to be with us and especially Americans, a great friend of ours," Fujisaki said.

US Cherry Blossom Festival Begins With Fundraiser for Japan Quake Victims
US Cherry Blossom Festival Begins With Fundraiser for Japan Quake Victims
The event was a prelude to Saturday’s start of a two-week National Cherry Blossom festival which will be in its 99th year.  The annual celebration marks the 1912 gift of more than 3,000 Japanese cherry trees from the city of Tokyo to Washington.

Festival chair Susan Norton said it was time to give back.

"We now have the opportunity to stand with Japan and say as we have taken such pleasure over the years, as we have loved visiting and seeing these blossoms with our loved ones, we now want to send every good thing that we can toward Japan because they are suffering right now as we cannot even imagine," she said.

After the speeches, people holding glow in the dark sticks walked around the nearby cherry blossom-lined Tidal Basin.

The two-week Cherry Blossom festival begins Saturday
The two-week Cherry Blossom festival begins Saturday
One of those taking part, second generation Japanese-American Risa Hirao, said she was very concerned about her relatives living in Japan.

"They are family, they are extended family and I am here to support them in whatever way I can. I feel helpless being out here, not being able to do much to help them emotionally, or provide them with simple things, like batteries or food or clean water so I think this is a way for me to help them out," Hirao states.

With tears in her eyes, she said she remembered of when she was on vacation and spent time with her family having lunch under the cherry blossoms in Japan.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs