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21.05.13 10:56 Victory Day celebration 2013 in Volgograd
 

During the Second World War, many countries had fought for their freedom till their last drop of  blood. The day when they had officially achieved independence is indeed a remarkable and memorable day for each individual.

Volgograd used to be named as Stalingrad. Stalingrad had fought for 200 days and nights during the Stalingrad Battle. Russian soldiers had a motto, "No one step back!" Hence, many heroes were born in this battle: Mikhail Panikaha, Matvei Putilov, Vasili Zaytsev and many others more. Every inch of Stalingrad earth was filled with blood.

Victory Day is celebrated grandly in Russia on the 9th May. Victory Day is a national holiday in Russia. Public offices, schools and most businesses are closed for the celebrations. On this day, TV networks broadcast World War II-inspired films, younger generations honor veterans, and the festivities culminated in a military parade at the Square of Fallen Heroes in the city of Volgograd. Many people attended the local military parade, showcasing Russia's military forces.

As I was enjoying the military parade, I noticed that there were a few groups of Europeans coming down from tour bus and I started asking the locals, why were there so many tourists. According to locals, our city of heroes, Volgograd is the critical point of the victory achieved in Russia. Most veterans wore their medals proudly as they head to the parade. My friends and I managed to take some photos with the brave veterans who had fought for their country.

I have also realized that it is a tradition to give flowers, usually red carnations, to veterans in the street and to lay wreaths at the war memorial sites. Blood red carnations symbolize the colour of the Soviet flag under which the veterans had fought. Laying an even number of red carnations at war memorial sites signifies mourning and remembrance. Neighborhood schools from five district areas in Volgograd hosted an event prepared by the students, featuring wartime song and also the joy of each peasants after victory was achieved. The dances done by schoolchildren from the age of 8-14 were indeed entertaining and enjoyable.

Along the streets, you can find many citizens had a black and yellow ribbon fastened on their clothes. This ribbon is called as the St. George ribbon. It symbolizes respect and remembrance of the fallen heroes. Sometimes you can see those ribbon is also tied to the car antennas.

Each of the veterans had a Red Star medal on their uniform which they wore the badge proudly. This badge symbolizes a military distinction for bravery.

Victory Day celebration in Volgograd ended with a concert and fireworks at the central waterfront city. There was a firework competition between 5 district areas called as the Pyrotechnic. It was like an outdoor theatre. Juries were assessing the show. The opening theme was Patriotism. Variations of fireworks were used accompanied with music background. Thus, we have witnessed continuous blasting colourful fireworks. The whole night sky was illuminated. It was a magical night indeed.

Fiona Ng,
2nd year student
of General Medicine

Volgograd State Medical University, 1, Pavshikh Bortsov Sq., Volgograd,
400131, Russian Federation;
Tel/Fax ++7-8442-38-30-28
(Vice-Chancellor for international affairs, Prof.A.A.Spasov)
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