Late on May 8 1945 Nazi Germany signed the act of capitulation. This was announced to general public on May 9 1945, which is celebrated since then as The Victory Day. It marked the end of the World War II.
Millions of civilians and military people were killed and whole villages and cities were destroyed during the 6 years (1939-1945) of the war. In Russia, at least (I don’t know about others), there was no single family that wasn’t affected by the war – someone was either killed, repressed, or died of hunger. The Victory Day is a huge deal.
Military parades take place in celebration of the event in many cities around the world. In Russia, the main parade is organized on the Red Square in Moscow. Veterans (less and less with every year) take part in it together with the active military forces.
This is the day of pride. And there is indeed a lot to be proud of. Soviet Union played one of the major roles in the war. Millions of people pulled and pushed and worked together night and day both on the front lines and the rear, sacrificing everything and anything they had. It is their celebration today.
But this is also the day of shame. The shame of generations that came after. Most of those few people who are still alive, those who participated in the making of The Victory have been thrown overboard. They are truly forgotten and reminded of only on this day. Their pensions are the lowest in the country. They are ripped off of all the benefits and health care. They are truly disrespected now, despite all the talk of their achievement and importance.
Today they passed The Red Square. They had all the eyes of the country looking at them. They were proud. But tomorrow, they will be back to their real life, where noone cares about them.
61 years have passed. On one hand, this is a really short period of time. Some of the people who were there 61 years ago, are still alive today, and still remember how it was. On the other hand, these same 61 years seem like centuries. Things have changed so much, and so many things have been forgotten and lost. Things that weren’t meant to be forgotten. Things that weren’t meant to be lost.
I remember, when I was a kid, The Victory Day was a huge holiday for me. I felt the pride. For the last few years though that have changed. I feel shame and sadness.
For what it’s worth, I’ll try to be a part of those who spreads the knowledge and awareness. Even if that’s only one day in a year. Here are the links to Wikipedia pages that are relevant to The Victory Day:
- World War II
- End of World War II
- Victory Day (Eastern Europe)
- Victory in Europe Day
- Moscow Victory Parade of 1945
- German Instrument of Surrender, 1945