The 9th of May is a day of celebration and remembrance in Mother Russia. On that date, in 1945, the great patriotic war with Germany came to an end. Events to mark the day are held on towns all over the country.
In Moscow we witnessed the celebration preparations around Red Square. Red, white and blue bleachers were in place and practice sessions were held that included a fly over with hundreds of planes. We also suffered through horrendous traffic jams during the rehearsals.
Before we left Moscow three aging but spry veterans visited our ship and spoke of their experiences.
In Uglich, on May 8th, the stage was being erected in anticipation of the speeches and marching scheduled for the 9th..
In Yaroslavl we witnessed the May 9th festivities and visited with two veterans on their way to the event. The streets were crowded with families as they converged on the town plaza. Army vehicles were parked nearby to join in the parade.
It was very impressive to see the widespread support for the event and the focus on the few surviving veterans of the war.
We we finished our city tour we returned to the ship where our crew staged a flag raising ceremony on the bow of our ship, raising American and Russian flags. As our guide said, "20 years ago who would have envisioned an American owned cruise ship on the Volga River flying both nation's flags?"