Allied soldiers from France, England and the U.S. were invited to Moscow in recent days to participate in last Sunday's May 9th Victory Day Parade through Red Square. This was a first. You may have caught glimpses of the parade and evening fireworks on CNN. The festivities in Red Square were duplicated - on a more modest scale, of course - in probably every city across Russia. The motto here seems to be, If it's worth doing, it's worth doing on a massive, over-the-top scale. Gotta love it!
Below are U.S. Army troops practicing in Moscow in the days before the parade, photo courtesy of the U.S. Army website.
Photo by Bob Close
There's a wonderful human interest story here. First a bit of background. Seventy-five soldiers from the U.S. Army Europe, Company C, 2nd Battalion traveled from their base in Germany to Moscow for the festivities. They were accompanied by a 45-piece band from the U.S. Naval Forces, Europe.
According to the army website, back in 1943, a platoon leader of the Soviet Red Army, a Major Alexander Peteryaev was killed in action. Decades later, in 1996, some of the major's descendants immigrated to the States from Vladivostok, the largest city in Russia's far east. And so it is that Major Peteryavev's grandson, 1st Lt. Ilya Ivanov, Russian-born but now a Texan, serves as executive director of Company C. The lieutenant is understandably excited about being back on Russian soil for the festivities.
The video below shows The Allies coming together for the 65th anniversary celebration of the end of the Great Patriotic War, as it is known here in Russia. Of special interest is the attendance of Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, who attended as a special guest of Russia's Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin. Unthinkable in 1945. Amazing how time marches on and wounds can heal.