History and Sakura

History sets the stage for the future. History gives today meaning. History develops values and beliefs. Anyone who disputes the importance of history classes, fails to understand how instrumental the past is for today’s decisions and tomorrows society.

2 week ago my history class reached the 1960s, a period of rebellion, turmoil, and change in America. As we get closer and closer to present day, I am valuing the impact of history. What I am learning in my history class is showing up on the news because the policies of yesterday influence the laws today, weather that regards Cuba, NASA funding, or foreign aid support. Learning history also helps me understand my parents’ and grand parents’ outlooks on society today. Their morals and values were shaped by the culture they grew up in.

I now understand that the televised Vietnam War in the 60s raised a huge population of anti-war individuals who were and still are unable to accept any war in society. I also understand that America’s foreign policies with countries like Japan stem back to this era where treaties were signed and contracts were made.

Last week while I was watching 60 Minutes there was a story about how Ambassador Caroline Kennedy is a huge success in Japan because of her father’s (John F. Kennedy) legacy with the nation. By understanding history I am able to get a better picture of the events of today.

The story about Ambassador Caroline’s duties covered many Japanese rituals and focused on the current cherry blossom season. Cherry blossoms are a huge part of Japanese culture and are historically significant. Every spring aromatic blossoms decorate all of Japan, bringing in thousands of tourists. Metaphorically these blossoms have always symbolized the beauty of life, in Japanese culture. The blossoms’ short growing season, demonstrates the development, simplicity, fragility, and wonder of life. The flowers also serve as inspiration for meals. All the local restaurant use the cherry blossom fragrance, branch, design, or another aspect, to enhance their food.

Hanami is the name for this blossom viewing season, and in regions of the country it is a ritual that involves elaborate celebrations, dancing, drinking, and viewing cherry blossom trees. A tradition that started several centuries ago, Hanami is very prominent today and has now spread form the elite classes to the rural country side.

Globally Japanese Cherry Blossom trees are a symbol of peace between countries. In 1912 America received 3,000 trees from Japan, and through history other countries including Brazil and Turkey have been offered these beautiful trees as gifts.

Many aspects of nature hold a symbolic and historical presence, influencing cultures and the policies of today.

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