We would like to wish our moms a very special and happy Mother’s Day and to all the moms out there here’s hoping it was a special day for you too and that all the kids called home. The missionaries in our district (2 sisters and 6 elders) all called home, we know, because they came to apartment in shifts and used our computers to skype with their moms (and family). This is only one of two times they get to call home each year, the other is at Christmas. It is a pretty big deal and I am sure more for the moms than the missionaries. It was fun though to have them all come by at their appointed time and call home. We were honored to be given a moment with some of them to meet their parents over skype.
We didn’t notice any special Mother’s Day tribute here but we remembered that just a short time ago, March 8th, we celebrated “Woman’s Day” which is pretty similar just more inclusive. You didn’t have to be a mom (just a female) to get flowers and chocolates and the day off. Apparently, there is something pretty universal about chocolates, flowers and females??!! Go figure. Oh, we should mention that even though it was a day off from work – everyone worked the Saturday before to allow for the “time off”. We thought it interesting in light of the fact that there are so many other holidays and days off work. Like the 2 week hiatus over News Year and multiple other days throughout the year, including this past week which was a 3 day holiday ending with a big “Victory Day” celebration on May 9th.
We were impressed with the solemnity with which the people remembered those who served and gave their lives in defense of their country during World War II. The day was filled with memorials and celebration and of course as the day wore on the celebration became a little more “lively” ending in a big fireworks display – which we watched from the safety of our balcony. 28 million Russian soldiers and civilians lost their lives in World War II and it is memorialized like it was just yesterday in every city across Russia. Each city has their own “Eternal Flame” which burns in that city’s memorial park in remembrance of those who lost their lives. In Novosibirsk there are six monolithic walls containing all the names of the people of this city who died during the conflict. It is much like our own memorial wall in Washington D.C. except that every city has one and with 28 million names it is easy to see why there isn’t just one such memorial. Anyway, it was very impressive for us to attend the ceremony and see how close it remains to the hearts of these people. We saw a procession of surviving veterans, wives, children and grandchildren walking to the Eternal Flame of Novosibirsk many of whom were carrying pictures of their lost soldiers. World War II is called the “Great Patrionic War” in Russia. Someone in the crowd gave us a memorial ribbon to wear which we were honored to do.
On our way home from the Memorial Park we met an older lady on the metro who was very friendly. When she discovered that we were not Russian, which I am still not sure what gave us away, (maybe it was our accent), she wanted to know why we were wearing the Russian Memorial Ribbon. We shared, as best we could with our limited language skills, our feelings and impressions with her and told her that our fathers had also been in that conflict. She seemed to understand and I know at least felt of our sincerity. We hope to be able to see her again sometime.
Everyone have a wonderful week.
|The Eternal Flame of |
|Two of the six walls|
The names are just those from
|Statue of Mother Russia|
(sorry for the angle)
|Russian Orthodox Priest|
Head Man in Novosibirsk
He led the procession
|Memorial Wreaths to be placed|
at the Eternal Flame
|White banner says|
In honor of those who served 1941-1945
|More of the procession|
These are a few of the things we saw. It was all quite impressive for small town folks like us. This is still a very big deal for the Russian people.