May 9, 2018 -- Victory Day
The woman was old, frail, but her eyes were full of life. She had been a sniper in World War II, fighting for the soviets. Baku, Azerbaijan, is her home. But now she is far from there, 95 years old, no family, save us six. We six, the learners and speakers of the Russian language. We sang songs to her, lifted her spirits. I stood there in my soviet uniform, smiling and humming along. I leaned down and she spoke Russian to me. "She's asking if she can kiss you," one of the speakers said. Spasiba, Spasiba, she kept saying. Thanking us for the songs. Crying.
She was an actress as well. She even has a Wikipedia page. She fought the Germans, bravely. To be connected to the past in such a way is quite a thing. I thought of this, as I stood there.