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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid