Festive mood of the day

‘This Victory Day smells of gunpowder’ melody — known to everyone — resounds across districts of Minsk, marking the sacred holiday

By Galina Olkhovskaya

From early morning, Minskers headed to Nezavisimosti Avenue to see the traditional festive parade. They took their families and children to the city parks: Pobedy (at Komsomolskoe Lake), Gorky and Chelyuskintsev. At 11am, thousands of people created a line from the Head Postal Office building to Oktyabrskaya Square, then, shoulder by shoulder, they marched to the accompaniment of an orchestra towards the Victory Monument, to lay flowers at the Eternal Flame.

Representatives of enterprises and public associations arrived to congratulate and greet veterans, alongside many young people. These 15-16 year old boys and girls remember their heroic forefathers from photographs only but they realise the sacrifices made for victory.

The young Yegorchenko family is proud of their grandfather, who fought in Eastern Prussia and failed to return, being killed by the enemy in January 1945. Alexander Yegorchenko has many times told his son about his own father. When I ask the boy what he knows of his grandfather, he replies, “He was an infantryman. My grandmother told me that he was once nearly blown up by a mine.” He blinks in the bright spring sun, holding red carnations to present to one of the veterans.

The holiday has been memorable, with each person honouring the generation of victors — either aloud or in our thoughts. At 10pm, the sky over Minsk sparkled with a thousand stars and dazzling festive fireworks closed the day.

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