NEW YORK, May 6. /TASS/. About 2,000 people, both Russian-and English-speaking, took part in the Immortal Regiment march in New York City on Saturday to remember relatives who took part in World War Two.
The march started in Manhattan’s west with its end point being Battery Park, where they laid flowers at the WWII memorial, observed a minute’s silence and released hundreds of white balloons into the air over Manhattan.
Carrying portraits of their loved ones and singing war-time songs, the marched 1.5 kilometers along the Hudson River. There were tens of New Yorkers among them, also carrying portraits of their loved ones who had fought or had been killed at the fronts of WWII. A plane carrying a 30-meter-long St. George Ribbon hovered over the Hudson River during the march, and later flew the city over.
Tourists and local residents often approached the march for explanations. "Russian and Americans fought side by side against Nazism and won together, so join our march today as well," coordinator Igor Kochan urged the passers-by through a megaphone. Many people were eager to join the procession and even tried to sing along.
Soviet and US war veterans joined the procession at the war memorial in Battery Park. "We will never forget the war as we bore the full brunt of it, but we would also want to see that the young people always remember what the war is," 93-year-old war veteran Dmitry Lokantsov told TASS. Also taking part in the march was Yuly Aizenstadt, an inmate of Ozarichy concentration camp in Belarus, who was 14 when the concentration camp was liberated by the Soviet Red Army. The Nazis killed his whole family in 1941, about 20 people, he told TASS. "But good fortune was with me, I survived. I was first in a partisan camp, and at the end of 1943 I got into Ozarichi concentration camp. Nazis experimented on us, children, infecting us with typhus. I was also infected," he recalled.
On Saturday, Immortal Regiment marches took place in several US cities, including Washington, Boston, Denver and Phoenix. Within the next few days, the marches timed to mark Victory Day, will be also organized in some 20 other cities of the US, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Kansas City, Birmingham and Houston. More than 6,000 participants in Immortal Regiment marches across the US are expected.
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.