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The Immortal Squad march pays moving tribute to the war heroes who never came home

By The Siberian Times reporter
09 May 2013

There was an inspiring new aspect to the May 9 Victory Day commemorations across Russia, thanks to the idea of a Siberian man to honour the countless soldiers with no known grave.

The Immortal Squad march pays moving tribute to the war heroes who never came home. Picture: Channel One Russia 

Thousands of people from more than 50 cities across the country walked an Immortal Squad march, carrying portraits of their parents and grandparents who paid the highest price for the Soviet Union's victory in the Second World War. 

The idea of the march came from Sergei Adamovich, of Tomsk, who registered a website in honour of these war veterans in 2012. His grandfather Ivan Lapenkov left in 1940 for the Finnish front, then fought in Smolensk, Stalingrad and Kursk. He lost both legs, but came back home. So many didn't.

As pensioner Nina Goncharova, 60, of Moscow, said: 'I don't even know where I can lay the flowers. I don't know where my father is buried, where is his grave. He left to the war being very young - and was never seen back again. I was born after he left.

'I never saw him alive. He never made it to the Victory day Parade - but I want my memory of him to be real and never to vanish'.

The Immortal Squad


The Immortal Squad


The Immortal Squad

'I never saw him alive. He never made it to the Victory day Parade - but I want my memory of him to be real and never to vanish'. Pictures: Channel One Russia 

Another marcher Leonid Filonenko clutching an old photograph said: 'There he is, my father, laid to rest somewhere - and no-one will ever remember him or think of him. 

'I want to make something happen so that he along with other named and unnamed soldiers will never be forgotten.'

'It is a history of every family in Russia, in that the family comes to the march with a portrait of him, or her - or them - and walk together with others to pay the honour to people that made our today possible,' says Moscow co-ordinator of the Immortal Squad, Nikolai Zemtsov. 

Thousands and thousands of names are now on the website's database; picture after picture of young and beautiful people that left their families, never to return.

'They are winners whatever, even if they never made it to the 9 May Parade in 1945. They have to march as winners', said a grandson of the II World War soldier Ivan Dmitriev. 

Immortal Squad Russia


The Immortal Squad


The Immortal Squad

Thousands of people from more than 50 cities across the country walked an Immortal Squad march, carrying portraits of their parents and grandparents who paid the highest price for the Soviet Union's victory in the Second World War. Pictures: TV2 News Agency Barnaul, Channel One Russia 

The Tomsk initiative went like wildfire around Siberia and then the rest of Russia. Ekaterinburg, Biysk, Novokuznetsk - city after city joined in, with people volunteering to work for the Immortal Squad. 

It was another proof of how right was a song written after the war, that there is not a single family in Russia untouched by the four years of fighting.

In Moscow, President Vladimir Putin told veterans on Red Square: 'There is no measure for measuring your sacrifices. We'll always cherish your exploits and will always grieve over those who lost their lives in the battlefield or were tortured to death'.

Comments (4)

Well done people of Russia...!
May, China
10/05/2013 15:08
2
0
watching them walk made me cry.... happy victory day and thank you everyone for making this march possible
Eva, Russia
10/05/2013 11:44
3
0
Well done for keeping the memory, this is so inspiring. Happy Victory Day
Gregory, USA
10/05/2013 00:42
4
0
Happy Victory Day to everyone in Russia. God knows what would have happened to the world without your extraordinary sacrifice
Pawel, Warsaw
09/05/2013 23:11
6
0
1

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