Cherry Blossom Festival Lantern Lit in D.C.

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Japanese cherry blossom trees are in full bloom for Washington, D.C.'s annual National Cherry Blossom Festival.

This weekend, many people turned out to celebrate the springtime event.  From food to fashion, Japanese culture was on full display.
The highlight of this year's festival, however, was Sunday's lighting of a Japanese Stone Lantern.
The 360-year-old lantern was given to the U.S. as a gift in 1954. The gift was meant to symbolize the peace and friendship between Japan and the United States.
In the wake of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the lighting of the lantern took on a special meaning to many folks in attendance.

"They gave us such a great gift some time ago, and we've built up a great relationship with them," festival-goer Tom Duckenfield said. "So I think all Americans should constantly think about them and do what we can."    

"Japanese are resilient people," said Ichiro Fujisaki, Japan's ambassador to the U.S. "Just like the cherry blossoms, we will bloom again."

This year's festival also hosted a 10-mile race. Proceeds of the marathon will go to support the people of Japan.

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