Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Looking Backward, Looking Forward


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.


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