Sunday, May 10, 2015

Victory Day... for some

Victory Day, anniversary number 70, is over. Big celebration in Russia—but boycotted by many western countries as a protest against Russia's aggression against Ukraine. I was in Ukraine for the 59th Victory Day celebration. It's truly a big deal over there. War for those people isn't simply a formal ceremony of remembrance. War destroyed their families, their towns, their lives. Civilians often don't have the rituals of military tradition to express their memories. Rather, their memories are in the old music, in the damaged buildings, in the old photos of once whole families, in the addictions to numb, un-numbable pain, and in the faces of the old surviving women. That's where the war still rages—in the minds of old people whose youth was ruined. Like so many millions, my mom and dad's lives were horribly distorted by the second world war. In May, 1945, each of my parents—still strangers to each other—were settling down to some POW time in the Soviet victor's land. The war for them was long from over. My dad was released from Soviet custody in November, 1949. Victory Day for him (and for my mom, released in July, 1947) was the beginning of yet another fight for survival.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. RIP

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