Due to coronavirus-related restrictions across most of the United States, many events ended up being held online. The offline activities that proceeded were carried out by small groups and in strict compliance with all state and federal guidelines.
Russian Americans in California, Illinois, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, Alaska, Texas, Hawaii, Arizona, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Washington D.C., Alabama, Oregon, and other parts of the country, marked the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany through virtual concerts, memorial ceremonies, gift deliveries to veterans, and a major community live stream.
Soviet World War II veterans, Leningrad siege survivors, and home front workers, who are now living in the United States, received gifts and congratulatory messages from Russian-American community organizations.
In New York, 400 veterans – many of whom are now between 94 and 102 years old – were visited by volunteers from the Russian Youth of America, a local organization that put together gift boxes filled with an assortment of Russian treats.
A similar volunteer effort by members of the Seattle Immortal Regiment organizing committee, a community group focused on World War II veteran affairs and historic preservation, delivered flower bouquets and postcards to 40 veterans living in the Puget Sound region.
The group also organized a “Never Forget” public awareness campaign, setting up banners on major overpasses of interstates 5 and 405, reminding commuters of the important historical date.
In addition to treats and flowers, many veterans also received anniversary medals that were sent from Moscow and distributed by the Russian Embassy with the help of community members around the country. In Florida, for instance, this important task was carried out by the Russian-American Community Center.
Special attention was also directed towards veteran burial sites and World War II memorials, where small groups from organizations such as the Congress of Russian Americans, the Russian Cultural Center in Alaska, the Association of Slavic Immigrants, and the Russian-American Cooperation Initiative gathered to lay flowers and wreaths.
Memorials in the cities of Fairbanks (AK), Seattle (WA), Olympia (WA), Vancouver (WA), Beaverton (OR), and West Hollywood (CA), were among those visited.
In Chicago and San Francisco dozens of vehicles decorated with St. George Ribbons as well as American, Soviet and Russian flags formed a motorcade and traveled along the main city streets. Veteran portraits were positioned in the car windows, enabling passing cars and pedestrians to grasp the essence of the rally, organized by Immortal Regiment coordinators.
Ceremonies on land were complimented by an aerial display of respect when a giant Ribbon of St. George, a widely recognized symbol of remembrance of WWII vets, was launched by the Russian Youth of America over the skies of Chicago, Dallas, San Diego and New York.
In the online realm, Russian-speaking Facebook groups and pages lit up with commemorative messages and personal stories about war heroes, alongside dozens of virtual concerts both recorded and performed live by many talented members of the community.
At the apex of it all was the Immortal Regiment live stream, which transformed an annual remembrance walk – originally planned in 25 major U.S. cities – into a virtual gathering with hundreds of participants in around 300 locations scattered across the states.
Among those taking part in the unprecedented video link were veterans, organizers and participants of the Immortal Regiment walks from previous years, and diplomats of post-Soviet states, including the ambassadors of Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the charge d'affaires of Belarus.
As the patricians took turns making their remarks, a clear and unified message emerged: The memory of the hard-fought victory in the Great Patriotic War that cost 27 million Soviet lives – is sacred. And just as the memory of the Holocaust has been rightfully enshrined in world history, the great triumph of Soviet soldiers who liberated Europe from the Nazi scourge should never be distorted or forgotten.
Russian Youth of America;
Seattle Immortal Regiment;
Immortal Regiment in America;
Russian Community Council of America;
Embassy of Russia in the USA;
TASS News Agency