Monday, May 10, 2010

Victory Day 2010: Sunday, May 9th

May 9th is Victory Day across Russia, celebrating the surrender of Fascist forces in 1945. This year was extra-special being the 65th anniversary of the end of The Great Patriotic War, as it is known.

Sixty-five years of victory: Russian retro art - it warms the heart.

This year the parade here in Rostov was a little different. For one thing, the veterans didn't march the parade route because it's getting harder for them to do that. So, as I understand it, they sat in the reviewing stands overlooking Theater Square. But along the parade route came the military hardware. The parade started at 10:00 on Sunday morning and I was able to capture some pre-parade shots before heading to our church services which started at 11:00, three blocks north of the parade route.

However, thanks to Artom, a friend from English Discussion Club, who offered to shoot video of the parade and get interviews with veterans after the parade. Thanks to his efforts, we have lots of great video footage. So I'll pick the best of that and get it edited and translated for you. And for now, here's what I saw of the pre-parade plus lots extra of Rostov adorned for the festivities.

(Click photos to enlarge.) Veteran finding his way to the staging area, asking directions. Go east young man, go east three blocks and you'll be there.

Security was a major concern, with recent bombings in Moscow. These officers were polite but quite thorough in checking through bags and backpacks.

Daddy and baby hurrying to catch the parade. Bouquets for veterans nearly requisite.

Sister Mariam is a war hero, as her medals indicate. Here she is serenaded by Anya and Sofia before church service begins. Our Mariam worked as a digger of trenches during the war. Later, she worked for the Moscow circus. Mariam is compassionate and generous in her own sweet, quiet way. I'm convinced that there's a special place in heaven just for this dear soul. As I mentioned, she's a war hero.

Artash, our preacher, with Mariam. Victory Day was quite the day for Mariam. She was simply glowing. This has been a challenging year for Mariam. Last fall as she was exiting a bus, the driver closed the door and started off before she was completely out. The door closed on her arm, dragging her along with the bus. Her arm got pretty well banged up and an arm bone broken length-wise. And she declined to fault the driver because she didn't want him to lose his job. That's just the kind of lady she is. Mariam is a hero, no doubt about it.

The Berlin store: Have to laugh at the irony of this. . . and I just know that you'll want to laugh too. In 1945, To Berlin was the slogan for Soviet troops going west toward Germany to defeat the Fascists. And now in 2010, there's an upscale clothing store named Berlin here in this very city.

Zooming on in to the Berlin store, the white letters. Need to pop in there for a look around. Guessing it's German-made and/or designed apparel.

Along the street after the parade, guys drinking yogurt and more, sitting in front of an athletic supply store. I was interested in the Nike ad behind which says, Believe: You are stronger than you think. The one guy was downplaying the slogan saying, It's just some American propaganda. That's not something we would say.

Yours Truly with a poster, (Congratulations) with the Holiday!

* * * * *

Got to admit that I'm quite pleased with myself for heading to Theater Square early Thursday to get some shots in the morning sunlight.
This ended up being a splendid idea, without the crowds. Plus ended up with the ultimate photo opportunity, more about that later.

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing in a huge way, seems the Russian philosophy. This massive
mural covers an entire side of the Stella Bank building, proclaiming 65 years.

No one is forgotten; Nothing is forgotten, the banner says over the entrance to Regional Railway Administration building, adjacent to Stella. Who is Stella, you might ask? Well, you'll get to meet her shortly.

School children bringing bouquets to Stella. In early May, lilacs and tulips are most popular. Children are so photogenic, you know, that I decided to just follow along with them and capture the moment.

Here is Stella. Overlooks the Don River and the steppe. Stella is taller than Lady Liberty, as I recall. Got the details on that around here somewhere. . .

The children presented their bouquets to a group of war heroes who happened to be there. Once I learned who these veterans were, things got extra interesting. This little story merits a blog post of its very own, one day very soon.

Leaving Stella, I happened upon this school group of hearing-impaired students. I asked the teacher if maybe they could sign a song for me to tape. Well they're so young, she said. They can't really sing yet. Okaaay.

There they are. Everything is dwarfed by Stella.

Leaving the area, here's Stella and a plane headed to Rostov International Airport.

The bench says (Congratulations) on the holiday! (Congratulations) on the 65th-year of the Great Victory! Indeed.

Four flags: From left is the flag of the Rostov Region (comparable to a state), then the tri-color of Russia, then the red flag of the Communist Party but nowadays with a gold star replacing the hammer and sickle and then the Rostov city flag. We seem to be in fine shape flag-wise.

Statue of mother and child, overlooking Theater Square from the northwest.

Mother statue, wide. Taken from Bolshaya Sadovaya (Big Garden) Street.

Welcome home poster of a homecoming, set in Red Square with a Kremlin tower in the background. Got to love this retro style of Russian art. Located at
Theater Prospect and Maxim Gorky Street.

Zooming on in to this joyful reunion: Sixty-five Years of Victory.


John from Kansas said...

That is a wonderful set Eileen. Thanks for posting the photos and commentary. Excellent photojournalism.

Tiaras, Baseballs & Ladybugs said...

Love the pix and the back story. Glad to hear things are well in Rostov. I miss being there and your words help remember the feel of that special place