Saturday, May 10, 2008

Victory Day

On May 9th, Russians celebrate Victory Day, the end of WWII in Europe. It is a somber holiday in light of the number of lives lost, but national celebrations are nonetheless grandiose.

On Thursday, I was in the orphanage and attended their Victory Day performance. Along with the usual music and dance, there was a play about a women's combat unit in which 5 girls became friends, and were all killed at the front. It was quite a lengthy drama in 2 parts, acted out by some orphanage graduates and directed by an elderly gentleman, himself a war veteran. All the children from 9-up sat and watched.

The end of the play featured a young descendant of one of the slain ladies talking by cell phone in the 21st century, recalling to a friend how it's important to continue to keep the memories alive.

Afterwards, the orphanage director got up and thanked the elderly theater director, tears streaming down her face.

The orphanage has a few veterans whom they've "adopted" and who go on an outing with the kids each year. It's nice to see the connection fostered between the past and the present/future. Russians do a good job of preserving memories.

This passing down of memories reminded me of what it says in the Psalter and in the historical books of the Old Testament about passing knowledge down to generations.

"Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord.
They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn—for he has done it." -Ps. 22:30,31

"These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you.
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." -Deut. 6:1-9

And another: "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. " -Deut. 4:9

And there are many more examples!

What will we tell our children about what the Lord has done for us?


  1. Beautiful! How I wish I could have seen the play. What a wonderful coordination between the generations. Sounds very sad, though.

  2. Just stumbled on to your blog when I was reading about orphans in Russia. I am trying to secure a volunteer position in St. Petersburg for next fall working with orphans. I have been working in fostercare in the U.S. as a social worker but know there are great needs in Russia. Did you speak Russian before you went? I was glad to find your blog to learn more about what it is like for Americans there.

  3. Hello Mary, if you are just planning to come for 2-3 months, you shouldn't have too much trouble securing a non-working visa.

    I majored in Russian in college, so I could already carry on a conversation in Russian when I arrived.

    Your interests sound similar to what I do, so maybe I can help you get connected. Drop me a line and we can exchange some more detailed information.


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