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Belarus President thanks veterans for victory in WWII

Belarus is marking the anniversary of the Great Victory. The official celebrations on May 9 began with the laying of wreaths and flowers to the obelisk at Victory Square in the center of Minsk. President Alexander Lukashenko took part in the festive ceremony. Addressing the audience, the head of state said that the Belarusian people will never stop admiring the courage of their fellow countrymen who have passed through the fire of war.

Dmitry Marchenko, veteran of the Great Patriotic War:
I was already in special forces, we were on assignment when we learned that the war was over. We rejoiced, we cried.

Every third Belarusian perished in that terrible war.

The 38-meter obelisk is adorned with a sword with a laurel bronze branch, a symbol of Victory. Nearby is the Eternal Flame.

The Belarusian President was the first to lay a wreath. The government, public organizations, and religious denominations also laid flowers to the Victory Monument. Such a ceremony gave a start to the celebration of the Great Victory.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
The crimes of the German Nazi invaders cannot be erased from the memory of people. Those who today are making attempts to rewrite history, to take away from our people the Great Victory should know this. We cannot allow this. And we will never stop admiring the courage of our fellow countrymen who passed through the hellish fire of war.

They did not kneel before the invaders.

The old and the young rose against the oppressors. Hundreds of thousands of guerrillas and underground fighters were smashing the enemy on every scrap of the Belarusian land. Such a powerful resistance to the invaders became a real contribution to the defeat of Nazism and the liberation of Belarus.
The Motherland highly appreciated the contribution of Belarusians to the common Victory. The highest award - the title of Hero of the Soviet Union - was bestowed on more than 440 Belarusians, while over 300,000 received orders and medals.

In that war, the Nazis burned more than six hundred villages and created about 260 concentration camps and 110 ghettos on the Belarusian land. More than 200 thousand people died in the "Trostenets" death camp alone. The Nazis did not spare the old people, women and children. A minute of silence was observed in memory of those who made this Victory closer but did not meet it.

This holiday is really popular. A lot of families come to honor the memory of the dead and once again say "thank you".

After shaking hands with diplomats and military attachés Alexander Lukashenko came to talk with the veterans. He wished them good health and longevity. The head of state added: back then, they defended us, and today everything is done in Belarus to provide a peaceful sky for them.

Alexander Lukashenko:
Thank God about 10 or 15 years ago, I made a decision that a separate course "Great Patriotic War" is studied in schools and universities. It saves us. Children remember that.

The holiday will continue until late at night and it will finish with a concert and a fireworks display.

Belarus President thanks veterans for victory in WWII