Spirit of Elbe commemorated in Washington DC

Russian and American delegations have been laying flowers and wreaths at the memorial in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC to mark the Soviet and US armies’ meeting at the River Elbe in Germany on April 25, 1945.

­The ceremony was attended by representatives of various CIS embassies, as well as those from the Pentagon and US State Department. The occasion was also graced with eyewitnesses to the actual event.

The commemoration was organized by Russia’s diplomatic mission in the US. Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the US, stressed the importance of Elbe Day for history and for developing relations between the US and Russia.

They were joined by forces of other countries in order to win the war. It was painful – painful for my country and for the US as well. There had been a lot of sacrifices. But thanks to the people who were brave enough to fight the common threat, we are free today,” said Kislyak.

The memorial in Arlington Cemetery was opened in April 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of this event. On April 25, 1945, Soviet and American troops met at the River Elbe, near the town of Torgau in eastern Germany, marking an important step toward the end of the World War II in Europe.  

It [the meeting] happened very quickly,” recalls Igor Belousovich, a US veteran of WWII, “Then we spent the night there and of course we were fed and alcohol flew freely… And I do remember that the next morning I had a headache. But considering the importance of the event, it actually dramatized the end of the war. Germany was split in half. Nobody at that time anticipated that the relationship between the US and Soviet Union would soon get complicated. At that moment everybody treated each other as friends and as allies.