Operation 2000 cherry trees comes to Fairborn


FAIRBORN —As part of both the revitalization of the city and a symbol of international friendship, the city of Fairborn will host local leaders and foreign dignitaries planting a ceremonial Japanese cherry tree Thursday.

Fairborn mayor Paul Keller will host Alex Hara, founder of Operation 2000 Cherry Trees, as well as Consul General Tsutomu Nakagawa, consulate general of Japan in Detroit and others for the ceremonial planting. The trees will both improve the beauty of the city and recognize the longstanding relationship between the United States and Japan.

The city of Fairborn is in the process of planting a total of 215 trees in and around Fairborn, particularly along Kauffman Avenue. The ceremony will take place outside the Government Center on Hebble Avenue.

“The Fairborn city council has a goal of raising the bar in Fairborn, and part of that is making Fairborn more beautiful,” Keller said. “The idea going into it was ‘let’s rival the Washington DC cherry blossom festival.’ ”

Additionally, by partnering with Operation 2000 Cherry Trees, Fairborn joins cities and organizations around the Miami Valley who have joined in international recognition. This includes the National Museum of the US Air Force, which has planted 150 cherry trees on its grounds.

”It is a big deal, we’re honored to sponsor that and be part of it,” Keller said.”We’re always looking for ways to put Fairborn on the map.”

Hara, a Dayton resident and Japanese native, founded Operation 2000 Cherry Trees after the tsunami that devastated Japan on March 11, 2011. After learning of the millions of dollars and 20,000 members of the US military were dispatched to help with the islands’ relief and recovery, Hara decided to give back in the form of planting thousands of cherry trees across Ohio and the Miami Valley.

The 5 p.m. ceremony marks the 10th anniversary of the tsunami that inspired the project.

Cherry blossom trees are a Japanese symbol of growth and renewal, according to Hara’s website. The trees have honored the international relationship between the United States and Japan since a grove was planted outside Washington D.C. in 1912.

By London Bishop

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Reach London Bishop at 937-502-4532 or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter.

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