While most people are celebrating Mother’s Day today, we shouldn’t forget that it is also the sixtieth VE Day, the day when World War II ended in Europe.
The Port Moody Station Museum has in its collection a local newspaper bearing this pivotal date, with pictures of the smiling leaders of the victorious states (including Chiang Kai-shek, the only non-caucasian of the bunch). Today the focus is instead on mothers and getting ready for our busiest tea of the year.
Yet Russia is today commemmorating VE Day with Victory Trains.
The idea came from Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov; on May 4, a 20-car WWII-style train began travelling from Brest, which the Nazis attacked on June 22, 1941 at the beginning of their assault on the Soviet Union. The train is actually on its way back to Russia after making its way to Berlin on April 15 with 70 veterans as the Train of Remembrance, and was part of the Grand Expedition of Remembrance for young people.
From Brest, the Victory Train carried 450 veterans, stopping to place wreaths on the graves of unknown soldiers in Minsk, Orsha, Smolensk, Gagarin and Borodino.
Two other Victory Trains operated in Russia’s far east, leaving Khabarovsk on April 6 and April 11 respectively. Veterans onboard and in stations along the way were treated to gifts from rail officials and performances by amateur song and dance groups.
By Oana Capota