May 9th is a very special day in the history of the world. It marked 70 years since the victory against the Nazis. The war was started by big oppressive egos who took advantage of people’s hardships. Manipulating a feeling of superiority for the purpose of uniting hate.
This war required heroes to join forces and sacrifice their lives. I am proud to say three of my grandparents were such heroes. Semyon and Liliya’s front-line serendipitous love-story is worthy of a novel. Semyon fully lost his leg, becoming an amputate 23 days before the end of the war. Yafim was wounded on two occasions, with one piece of shrapnel wedged near his heart all his life. Their stories of hardships have always put in perspective true meaning of sacrifice and perseverance. Liliya took care of Semyon and they raised my mother and her sister to be the top students in the USSR, as he became one of the most respected and admired community leaders and educators in his city. Yafim went on to live a modest, working life with a hobby developing and building innovative wind turbine models which he struggled to patent in the USSR. He and and his wife Sofa raised my father to be one of the most well-rounded people that I know.
Grandma Liliya is my last remaining link to that war. Unfortunately age has taken it’s toll and being unable to open her eyes, she lives in a seemingly permanent dream-state. Several days ago, I was able to bring her back to life to ask her a few more questions about what inspired her and Semyon during their battle against Fascism and in life under USSR’s attempt at Communism. Her response was priceless:
“What things are called don’t matter. People deserve to live in a free world where they can make their own decisions. People should love each other and do acts of kindness for each other. Everyone deserves to be happy.”
The world will see many more devastating wars. People who come to power based on greed and ego will continue to manipulate and cause damage to the planet and to countless human lives. Yet, no matter the circumstances, the human spirit of love and freedom will never be broken. There will always be heroes who live and fight for that cause.