Yesterday was Memorial Day back in the States and apparently something analogous here in Russia because when Marianne and I went to see the Black Tulip in Red Army Square, a monument to those who died in the Soviet Afghan War, we saw military people just beginning to gather for what looked to be memorial services.
I did not think Americans would be especially welcome at such an event and I did not stay. But I could not help wondering what our own Afghan War monument will look like when it's build. And I could not help hoping that, impossible though I know it is, ours will be the last monument and the last Afghan War.
And, because you wondered . . .
Why is the monument called the Black Tulip? Because that was the nickname the Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan gave to the plane that flew the bodies back home.
Here's a Russian song on the subject. If you go to YouTube, you'll find the lyrics beneath it.
Above: a closeup of the central element of the Black Tulip. Not shown are pylons to either side, each holding the names of soldiers who died in one year of the war.