MINSK, 30 June (BelTA) – A virtual museum of participants of the Elbe Day was opened on the website of Minsk city gymnasium No.5 on 30 June. Taking part in the solemn ceremony were Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei, Charge d'Affaires of the USA in Belarus Jenifer Moore, representatives of the Minsk city administration, veteran organizations, and members of the parliament, BelTA has learned.
During the ceremony Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei draw a parallel between events of the Elbe Day and the present day. He pointed out that the allies had been unaware of each other initially and the exchange of gunfire had been a possibility. “However, they made a symbolical step towards each other. It is symbolical that they managed to say words of greetings to each other and that the meeting ended with a handshake. It means that a dialogue and shaking hands are always important, during any events,” the minister of foreign affairs said.
“Such events are very important today when the world is split into at least two parts, when the world is dominated by confrontation instead of the desire for tranquility, peace, and stability,” Vladimir Makei said while speaking about the museum's opening.
Vladimir Makei reminded that the gymnasium where the museum had been opened would be named after heroes of the Elbe Day in the long run. The minister is convinced that it will allow the educational institution to advance contacts with U.S. schools and other American partners. “A dialogue, a desire to be friends and live in accord are very important for us,“ the diplomat added. “Such events foster greater understanding between our nations. We are interested in advancing relations with the USA across the board and try to take concrete steps to that effect.”
Vladimir Makei concluded: “I would like us to work together and do our best so that our future could be peaceful and calm, so that we would have excellent relations with all countries, including the USA.”
In turn, Jenifer Moore drew attention to what participants of the meeting on the Elbe River had written in their recollections: they did not speak each other's language but friendly hugs and handshakes spoke louder than any words. “Even when relations between the former allies [the USA and the USSR] started deteriorating and ended with a cold war, the Elbe Day continued to remain a powerful symbol of unity of the East and the West. It demonstrated that even enemies are capable of peace and friendship. That historical meeting of the American troops and the Soviet ones symbolizes what we can achieve if we work for one goal, how countries can renounce their differences and restore trust and cooperate. Let's remember the lieutenants Silvashko and Robertson and aspire to be bold enough to cross a destroyed bridge and avoid a shootout,” the charge d'affaires of the USA in Belarus stressed.
An alley of 75 roses was planted in honor of the heroes that met each other on the Elbe River 75 years ago. Commemorative lights on behalf of the educational institutions of Minsk's Partizansky District will be lit there in the evening.
Red Army Lieutenant Aleksandr Silvashko and the U.S. Army Lieutenant William Robertson met on the bridge across the Elbe River near the German town of Torgau on 26 April 1945. The photo of their handshake was published by newspapers across the globe and became a symbol of the famous meeting of the anti-Hitler coalition powers on the Elbe River.