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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Memories Of World War II

In the place where dwells my mother, upon exiting from the elevator (or lift, in the UK) I literally stumbled across an old number sitting in her wheelchair in Xtreme proximity to the elevator door.
That is how they seem to gather, in tightly knit groups and ever so close to their objective; so focused upon their getting into the elevator, they quite forget that we riders (or, ascendants in France) must first exit.

Anyway, this day, this time, this old number was wearing a poppy.
I grabbed at my lapel in pseudo-mock horror, and asked where came that bit of flora incarnadine. Sprightly answers she that they were selling 'em at the front ( or front desk, in the parlance of those who like to link long stretches of nouns together).

But it was not the right time, was it? I mean, Memorial Day (USA) is May 25 this year. Poppy Day in the British Commonwealth is in November. The only thing I can think of as being holiday-imminent is Lady Day, or May Day.
And for the Roman Catholics of the neighborhood, the color back in the day was lady-blue, not blood vermillion poppy. However, for the IWW and wobblies, red was the color for May Day celebs; ditto for the USSR.

And to complexify things more, Victory Day is looming, also known as Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day.
In the British Commonwealth, VE Day is May 7. Among the other once allies it is May 8. Russia and many countries liberated in 1945 by the Red Army celebrate it on May 9, and this was due to the surrender papers being left on the train from Istanbul, necessitating an airlift back for the dossiers, and by the time they got to Stalin's door step - along with his morning Pravda and the three bottles moloko, one pasteurized - the world had become wiser and older by a day.
Further along the International Dateline,  ANZAC Day complete with poppies is April 25th. (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps... thank you, viv.)

So, Victory Day in Russia is May 9 this year.
And what would a 69 year old holiday commemorating the defeat of Nazism be without some discord?
Thus, the USA won't visit Moscow that day, and it hopes that many Western European countries will send regrets. It is that queasy feeling of déjà-1984-Olympics-thing-vu all over again.
Maybe we'll all get together later for VJ Day in August.

I think I shall observe Victory Day.
Although there may be animosities now, still do not my roots go back to Kievan Rus and Varangian overlords, swarming upon the Black Sea,

... who didst make Constantinople tremble,
and disconcert the children of Justinian...

as the poet said.

It looks like fun.
Some photos of Victory Day holidays past:

Russian veterans sing war songs as they celebrate Victory Day in the centre of Moscow, Russia
Ukrainian girls, dressed in second world war-era uniform pose in front of a line of cadets near the Motherland monument during the Victory Day celebrating in Kiev, Ukraine
 Belarus second world war veterans dance during Victory Day celebration in Minsk
Veterans chat during a Victory Day celebration in Tbilisi, Georgia
Antanina Cvetkova, a 93 -year-old veteran, receives flowers 
from a  girl at the Antakalnis  memorial in Vilnius, Lithuania


knutty knitter said...

April 25th ANZAC day. With poppies :)


Montag said...

Thanks....for reminding me...

(I say this often, and it is a song that is sung with the tune of "Thanks for the Memories.")