#2 - JRL 7173
MEMORY OF THE PEOPLE'S GREAT FEAT IN THE GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR IS SACRED
TULA, May 8, 2003. /From a RIA Novosti correspondent/--President Putin believes that it is the sacred duty of every citizen of Russia to keep alive the memory of the great exploit accomplished during the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War and revere it as a record of bravery, lofty patriotism and spiritual strength.
Speaking in the hero-city of Tula (250 kilometres south-west of Moscow), at a gala meeting to mark the 58th anniversary of the Victory, Putin said that "Victory Day not only brings us together to this time." "We see what a lot is shared by different generations, and remember that we are all children of one fatherland - Russia," the head of state said.
According to him, tomorrow we will be celebrating "the most popular and most radiant holiday - Victory holiday." As the president noted, practically every Russian family knows about the war not by hearsay, not from films, "but knows about it from its close ones, from relatives." According to him, 58 years ago we fought "an incredibly hard and heroic battle for our Fatherland." "We not only stopped the war, but also freed the world from Nazism," the head of state stressed.
Victory Day is a bitter-sweet day, the president noted. "We grieve for those who laid down their lives for freedom, for us who live today," Putin said. He called attention to the fact that Tula was the city which foiled Nazi plans to encircle Moscow from the south.
"Today here, in this hall, there are many children of that war," who "likewise have their war experience and their memory of it," Putin said. "In those formidable years our people upheld their history and their culture," the president underscored.
"On Victory Day we brush against the scorching truth about the war and realise what it is actually to love one's motherland, country, people and land," Putin noted.