WASHINGTON, May 6. /TASS/. More than 700 people defied the rainy weather on Saturday to take part in the Immortal Regiment march in central Washington.
They marched practically from the White House to the World War II Memorial on the National Mall. This was a third Immortal Regiment march in Washington. The participants carried portraits of their loved ones who fought in WWII. Many of them had sent photos to the organizers in advance to get enlarged copies at the site.
"Today we are marking the 73th anniversary of Victory Day. This holiday will always be a day of great joy and mourning for us. The lessons of Great Patriotic War (that Russia fought against Nazi Germany in 1941-1945) should not be forgotten," the organizer of the march, Yekaterina Hill, said.
On their way to the World War II Memorial, participants in the procession were singing war-time songs. The procession was led by Leonid Yermakov - an infantryman of the 3rd Belorussian Front, who had also participated in the two previous marches. Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov also participated.
The march, held in the afternoon, caught an eye of by-passers, many of them eager to learn what was going on. Some of them welcomed the march with acclamations. Volunteers and participants explained what the Immortal Regiment is about to those who were interested, distributing St. George Ribbons. The black-and-orange striped St. George Ribbon is a widely recognized military symbol in Russia. It can be seen in the makeup of many military decorations awarded by the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. It is also considered to be one of the symbols of Victory Day.
There were mostly young people among the participants, many of them under 18. There were also ethnic Russians, who either were born or grew up in the US. "Our ancestors gave us a chance to live today, to get together here and we are very grateful to them," said Alexei, who was carrying a portrait of his grand-grandfather who had fought in Berlin. "This memory unites us," he said.
Police officers could be seen at the site. Several streets in central Washington were cordoned off for the march, which had been okayed by the local authorities.
Most participants were ethnic Russians or nationals of post-Soviet republics, Russian nationals temporarily living in the US. However, there were dozens of Americans among them, who also carried portraits of their loved ones who had fought at the fronts of WWII.
The march culminated in a concert. At the end of the action, its participants laid flowers at the northern side of the memorial.
The ‘Immortal Regiment’ march is an annual event held throughout Russia and in other countries. The event is dedicated to the victory in Great Patriotic War (part of WWII) that claimed lives of about 28 million Soviet people, both soldiers and civilians. During the march, people carry portraits of their relatives who fought or died during the war. For the first time the event was held in 2007 in the city of Tyumen, then it was called Victory Parade. The name Immortal Regiment appeared in 2012 when a similar rally was held in Tomsk. Since 2015 the ‘Immortal Regiment’ march has become nationwide.