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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Victory Day

Victory Day was a great thing to experience here in Moscow.  Think Memorial Day, Veteran's Day and Fourth of July all wrapped up into one grand holiday.  May 9 marks the day Nazi Germany surrendered to The Soviet Union in the Second World War.

For the girls and me the celebrations began on Monday at school.  A choir of Veterans and another of war widows came to the school to perform.  Although feeble in body, they sang strong the old war songs.  They were proud of their country and the service they had given.



Celebrations start on May 9 with the Victory Day Parade.  This is where Russia displays her military power for the world to see - or at least those of us in Moscow.  This was different than any other parade I have ever watched.  People quietly lined the empty street.  Three police cars led the processions of a kazillion military vehicles.  There were no crowds cheering, clowns throwing candy or fire engines blaring their sirens.  It was silent.  The military men did not smile from their tanks or wave little Russian flags.  They manned their weapons and stared stoically ahead.  The earth rumbled as the tanks drove past worrying me a bit that the old crumbling US consulate building behind me would collapse.  It was a sobering parade yet well worth watching. 


Machine Guns


Big Machine Guns


Tank Guns


A Bigger Tank Gun

Fighter Planes that I bet had guns in them.

Missiles


Lots of big missiles and more fighter planes.

Red, White and Blue smoke - cool.

Scary looking missiles


I don't want to think of the damage these babies can do.


Truck after truck of bombs.

Not sure how they launch it, or for that matter get it off the truck.

This one didn't even fit in the picture.

In keeping with the normal daily duties, a line of street cleaners (33 to be exact) filed out after the last bombs with their sprayers going to wash all the "filth" away.
Throughout the afternoon people give veterans flowers in Gorky Park and Victory Park.  I have heard that the entire family must accompany the veteran just to carry the armloads of flowers they receive throughout the day.


In the evening we headed over to Victory Park to watch the fireworks.  The kids and I agreed that it was the best display we have ever seen.  Only America fires off one firework then waits while everyone ooohs and aaahs before shooting off another one.  Here they shot off twenty then before the twinkles were gone from the sky, twenty more were bursting in the dark.  Suddenly a shot, no a boom reverberated through the air, stopping my heart and shaking my clothes.  Eighteen canons were lined up on the hill behind us and every 30-60 seconds, another went off.  It was quite spectacular.  A good day and I am looking forward to next year when I plan on getting close to Red Square and having a glimpse of the 10,000 soldiers in formation.


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