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Planting friendship and gratitude: Operation 2,000 Cherry Trees

Planting friendship and gratitude: Operation 2,000 Cherry Trees (WKEF/WRGT)

DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - A local man has made it his mission to plant friendship and gratitude throughout the Miami Valley, and that's why he's Someone You Should Know.

On a field just outside Wright-Patterson Air Force Base you'll discover a place of serenity. Dozens of cherry blossom trees are planted there, and are grown out of a story of friendship that moved Alex Hara to do something.

A tsunami devastated Hara's homeland Japan in 2011. As the world responded to help, Hara said he was especially moved by the efforts of the United States, and that inspired him to make a decision.

"I wanted to express the gratitude of the Japanese people in the name of cherry blossoms," Hara said.

His goal was to plant 1,000 cherry trees all around the Dayton area. Hara worked with dozens of volunteers and local organizations joined forces and started planting in 2013. Many of them are found near the National Museum of the United States Air Force and the base itself. You'll also find them at Carillon Park, and along Edwin C. Moses Boulevard.

"Memory fades out, so quickly, unfortunately good or bad," Hara said, "but these trees will continue. So this is a 60 year mission. If they remember this is something to do with Japan, or the friendship with the Japanese people, that's what I want."

Hara said he recently reached his goal of 1,000 trees. Now, he wants to get to 2,000.

"Someday, people will not have to go all the way to Washington, D.C. to enjoy the cherry blossoms," he said.

If you are interested in donating to Operation 2,000 Cherry Trees, you can do so here. For more information about the non-profit, you can go here.

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