On June 22nd, thousands of people walked the ‘Road of Memory’, from Brest Fortress to Ceremonial Square, accompanied by the sounds of the shots from military chronicles and from the film Immortal Harrison. Countrymen from Russia, and from across the CIS and beyond gathered in this sacred place, answering the call of their hearts, to pay tribute to the memory of Red Army soldiers. Those defenders of the Homeland fought heroically in Brest 75 years ago, on June 22nd, 1941.
At 4am sharp, ‘The Candle of Memory’ was lit near the Eternal Flame and, at 5.30am, shots rang out to recall the German invasion all those years ago, from Kobrin Fortification. Over 500 people from military-historical clubs took part: a record number. Hailing from 26 regions across Russia and almost all of Belarus, as well as from Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Japan, the USA, Israel, Bulgaria, Spain, France and Poland, they recreated landmark events from the defence of Brest Fortress.
Heroes were also commemorated in other cities, with 22 illuminated wreaths of fir branches thrown into the River Nieman in Grodno at 4am. The city’s Belarusian Republican Youth Union initiated ‘No One is Forgotten, Nothing is Forgotten’, to bring together youth movement activists, Grodno residents, and a delegation from neighbouring Ukraine.
The wreath laying ceremony began at 6a.m. in Gomel, at each site where German invaders were met in the summer of 1941. Several buses brought young people and representatives of public associations, to create a caravan of memory, touring each site at which the fiercest fighting occurred: in the villages of Pokolyubichi and Kostyukovka. There, Gomel soldiers tried hard to hold back Guderian’s tanks.
The ‘Candle of Memory’ event began at 4am in Dokshitsy and Orsha, with events dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the start of the Great Patriotic War, then moving to the agro-town of Kopti, in Vitebsk District. It hosted a ceremony of reburial of remains of Red Army soldiers.
A requiem meeting was organised at Buinichi Field Memorial, in Mogilev, which hosted the consecration of the site chosen for construction of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist Church.
By Alexander Mityukov