I grew up in a world where the Soviets were the enemy. From my 1st Grade memories of Duck & Cover Drills at Ashley Elementary School in Denver, to sitting before the Fire Control Panel of USS Michigan with my fingers dancing over the buttons that controlled 24 TRIDENT C-4 Missiles with their load of deterrent nuclear weapons (which I can neither confirm nor deny were aboard), my life has almost always been with the Soviets as the ever present but respected enemy.
So it’s hard for me to imagine a time when the Russians weren’t the enemy. But there was such a time.
My Sister (in-law), as I have mentioned on many occasions, is originally from Moscow, Russia. On this, VE Day in Russia, she shared a set of photographs that are touching, emotional and enthralling to me. They are of her Grandparents, who served in the Red Army during the Second World War.
As you look across time into the eyes of these men and women who fought the Nazi’s from the East, it is inspiring to know that they too, were fighting for their Родина (Motherland). Twenty Million Russians died during the Second World War, a number that goes beyond the ability to even grasp or put into context. It’s a number to which we can’t even relate. That her grandparents survived the war isn’t just a happy occurrence, it’s a miracle.
A miracle that led to her birth, and my wonderful nieces who today live in a world and a country that is free from the dangers of our Grandparents era.
I wanted to share these pictures with you to put a personal face on the second VE-Day. I’ve stood next to my Sister as she got married, I’ve held my nieces and hugged them. None of that happens without the sacrifice of the men and women in these pictures, and their millions of Comrades who did not live to see VE Day.
There once was a time when the Russians weren’t the enemy…