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MOSCOW, May 9 (Itar-Tass) - The last battles were fought in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 68 years ago and May 9, 1945 became a day of great triumph for the people that had stopped the Wermacht's crushing machine and delivered a devastating blow to Nazism.
This day became possible due to the blood, sweat, courage and anguish of the people. The war left millions of maimed lives and a tremendous number of victims. The greatest losses - almost 27 million people - were sustained by the Soviet Union. The Red Army alone lost over 8.860 million people. This is why May 9 is called "a holiday with tears in the eyes" that combines grandeur and sorrow, shining medals and tears of the veterans.
The decades that have passed after the war have not shaken the status of May 9 as a national and consolidating holiday. Over the past 68 years nothing has tarnished the importance of the heroic struggle waged by the Soviet Union. Russia remembers that heroism and thinks that the state will forever be in debt to those who perished in that war whole defending their Motherland and those who survived.
There are 3.3 million war veterans, according to the Ministry of Health and Social Development. More than a half of them are workers of the home front, the widows of war veterans, members of the Siege of Leningrad and the prisoners of concentration camps. About 170,000 war veterans, including 32,000 disabled persons, live in the Moscow Hero City. The youngest war veteran is now 86.
The Russian capital will be the center of national celebrations. Red Square will bring those whose lives are connected with the war to the origin of the people's heroism by hosting a military parade with military hardware, planes and helicopters passing through and over the square. About 11,000 servicemen will participate in the parade.
May 9, a day of national pride and gratitude to the veterans, will see numerous meetings of the war veterans, concerts and open-air celebrations. War veterans and veterans of the Russian Armed Forces will meet on the Poklonnaya Hill. Two concert venues will be organized in the Tasritsyno Park. A Victory ball will take place in the Hermitage Garden. A white flower monument will be created in the Gorky Park. Everyone will have an opportunity to contribute his or her flower. Festival events will be held throughout the city.
Ten Air Force planes will stand ready to take off to disperse clouds over the city if the weather worsens.
Artillery salutes will be fired in the Hero Cities of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Volgograd, Novorossiisk, Tula, Smolensk, Murmansk, , in the cities, where the headquarters of the military districts, fleets, armies and the Caspian Flotilla, and in Sevastopol.