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VE Day in Jerusalem

by greg May 12 2008
HolidaysMunicipal news

WWII Veterans in Jerusalem

For those of us who grew up in North America in the 80s, strolling through downtown Jerusalem yesterday might have conjured up a few Red Dawn nightmares. Men in uniform proudly waving red flags emblazoned with hammers and sickles were marching down Jaffa Rd., probably seeking to do unthinkable things with the precious bodily fluids of young capitalists.

Being the good tolerant pluralist that I am, I asked what was going on. The first gentleman I spoke to, an older man adorned in medals of Red honor, seemed to only speak Russian and Yiddish, which didn't help. The second did the same. Could they really have won? The third, a younger man with the two, reassured my Commie-paranoia and responded in Hebrew. "It's a parade to honor the veterans of the Second World War," he told me.

"The guys who fought the Germans?" I asked. With the mention of the Germans they all nodded yes. Usually celebrated on May 9, (ah yes...VE Day!), the Jerusalem parade was rescheduled for yesterday so as to be on a local weekday.

Walking amongst the old vets meant joining in on the pride they exhibited as they stood up straight in different colored uniforms, wearing countless medals and even singing old war songs in Russian.

The official statement released by City Hall claimed that some 800 vets participated in the march – accompanied by the Police Band, youth group delegations, Members of Knesset, flowers and refreshments – but from the sidewalk, it certainly didn't feel like it was such a big production.

With the war is so far behind us, it takes increasingly greater efforts to rile up the aging fighters. But we owe them all a great debt of gratitude, so hopefully more celebrations of their accomplishments are in the works.

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