May 9th is the most cherished holiday in Russia and many of the other former Soviet republics. Every year, veterans of the Second World War put on their uniforms and decorate them with medals. The years of this tradition are numbered, for the youngest veterans are now 80+ years old.
This year was the 65th anniversary of the allied victory over the Nazi regime. Brighton Beach, home to the largest Russian-speaking population in the US, witnessed scores of veterans parade down a few blocks of this historic neighborhood. Traffic stopped, everyone dropped what they were doing and came out to cheer, cry and thank the bravemen and women who made incredible sacrifices six and a half decades ago.