May 9, or otherwise a Victory Day, is when the VE Day is celebrated in Russia and some other countries, including Finland. This article summarizes all the reasons why different countries celebrate on different days.
When we first came to the US, we quickly realized how little did we know about the events of WWII outside the part of the war which took place on the territory of the Soviet Union. And we also realized how little the people around us knew about this very part of the war we identified the most. Since then, it became our family tradition to celebrate this day in a very personal way, preserving the memories of the family members who lived through these times, and not to shy away from the complexities of that part of history.
My mom is a survivor of the Seige of Leningrad. A big part of how we are celebrating now is to let her know that her struggles are not forgotten. Since May 9 is not an official holiday in the US, we were always combining the VE Day celebration with the Mother’s Day. That year, it would be perfect, and if not for the quarantine, it would be a lovely weekend.
Since this year is also the 75th Anniversary of the VE Day, we tried our best to make it a memorable day for mom.
We chose a time when everybody could join a zoom meeting. I kept it low, so mom didn’t know all the details. I only told her a day before – I will pick you up at a quarter to five, and we will go to my place to celebrate a Victory.
I made our traditional salads on Friday, and Igor made yet another trip to Palatine to pick up the salads and some other stuff from the trunk of my car.
On Saturday afternoon, I started to set the table. I had “a moment” when I realized that what I thought being a can of sprats is a can of sprat pate, which meant I had to make deviled eggs in fifteen minutes. Which I did, but it was a personal record.
Everything worked great; everybody was on time; everybody had red carnations on the tables visible to mom. Anna sang mom’s favorite wartime song for her (and she called later one more time, and sang more). We drank for Victory, then for Mother’s Day and all moms, and for Anna’s new job, which she starts on Monday. Anna told mom, that thinking about her struggles during the Siege of Leningrad gives her courage and strength to navigate the current crisis. And I think that that’s the message my mom needed the most.
Mom was very grateful for everything: that I put up this display again, that I made all the traditional food, that the sweets were so delicious, and that I got everybody together. She said that it was a bright light amidst the grim situation.