Dayton man says 'thanks' with cherry trees

Nov 21, 2012

On the 100th anniversary of Japan's gifting of cherry trees to the United States as a sign of friendship, a Japanese businessman is recreating the gesture.

Alex Hara is vice president of commercial banking for JPMorgan Chase & Co. Hara was so moved by the U.S. and U.S. military response to the 2011 Japanese tsunami, he's spearheading the planting of 1,000 cherry trees across the Dayton region. It's called Operation 1000 Cherry Tree Project.

"I wanted to express gratitude to the U.S. citizens nationwide and hope that people will come to Dayton to enjoy the cherry blossoms just like so many people go to Washington DC to enjoy (them)," Hara says.

The first trees are being planted at 1:30 p.m. today at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

Former Ohio Governor Bob Taft will be on hand to officially receive the trees. His great grandfather, President William Howard Taft,  accepted the first cherry blossom trees in 1912.

Carillon Historical Park and the site of the proposed Wright Brothers Monument at the intersection of interstates 70 and 75 are among other locations where tree plantings are planned.