Two weeks ago, Gregory Shimizu received the wood from the cherry trees that were cut down outside the DFO building in March.
As many of you probably know by now, those trees were a gift to the City of Prince Rupert from Shimizu’s grandfather, Shotaru.
Despite being sent to an internment camp during World War Two, the elder Shimizu felt such an affinity toward Prince Rupert that he arranged for the trees to be shipped from Japan and planted in various places in the city.
In a way, the delivery of the wood closes the chapter on the unfortunate incident, but it provides a valuable lesson in what happens when we forget history.
The Shimizus were promised the cherry tree wood shortly after the trees were cut down, but it took a letter from his wife to the federal government nearly four months later to get a response from the department of Public Services and Procurement Canada. Who knows what would have happened if she hadn’t written it.
There was nothing malicious intended by the department in this case. They wrote a sincere letter of apology and immediately arranged for the transportation of 740 pounds of cherry wood.
But it shows how easy it is for things to fall through the cracks when we don’t actively and intentionally pay attention to what we know is important. It’s ironic that the trees and people who planted them were nearly forgotten again so soon after they were cut down.