In March of 1912, Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo City gave Washington, D.C., some cherry trees; 3,020 cherry trees, to be exact. Times were good; there was a growing friendship between the United States and Japan. In a happy ceremony held at the Tidal Basin, First Lady Helen Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two of those trees and started what would become one of the most beautiful features of the U.S. Capitol: the Cherry Blossom Festival.
Photographer Bill Dickinson captured this image of the blossoms, and the Jefferson Memorial, in March 2012. This year's festival began March 20 and goes until April 14.