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Published:April 2nd, 2009 12:14 EST
The Cherry Blossom Festival a Key to a Lasting Friendship and Unity

The Cherry Blossom Festival a Key to a Lasting Friendship and Unity

By Joey Liam

Yesterday was gloomy and cold, but not even the frantic weather could stop people from going to the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Naval Air Facility in Atsugi, Japan. As anticipated, there were more than 9,000 people who attended the festivity on base--mostly Japanese residents from the Ayase and Yokohama cities; there were even some from Tokyo. Also, several Europeans showed up for the celebration. The Cherry Blossom Festival held yesterday indeed marked another renewal of friendship with the locals and a continued partnership for peace and development of the region. 
"The Cherry Blossom Festival is very important to us, and we hope to experience it every year," said Mari Watanabe, Kanagawa, Japan. 
Guests started arriving at the opening of the gate at 10 in the morning. By noontime, the line extended all the way to the other end of the road towards the NAF Atsugi main gate. "I do not mind waiting in line, so long as there is still food and music when I get in," yelled Robert Mccluskey, Zama, Japan. 
People came on bicycles, motorcycles, cars, and many even took the taxi to get to Atsugi in celebration of the Cherry Blossom Festival. 
Different types of food were prepared for the guests: barbecues, hotdogs, burgers, etc. Of course, there were restaurants available for them also on base like McDonald`s, Popeye`s, Anthony`s Pizza, and many others. A live band was also hired to provide entertainment for all the guests at the Halsey football field. People were refreshed and rejuvenated as soon as they set foot at NAF Atsugi and welcomed with the hospitality of the United States military and Japanese armed forces. 
"This is really fantastic! I am enjoying every minute of it. I will come back again next year," said Mieko Stutterford, Tokyo, Japan. 
The Cherry Blossom Festival might have ended yesterday, but the friendship and camaraderie between the Japanese people and the American military has been renewed once again. Each year, when a cherry tree blossoms, a glimmer of hope for continuous peace is born. So long as this important event continues to thrive, the unity and partnership between these two great nations will carry on " a lasting harmony to be cherished by the next generation.


 Cherry Blossom