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Noble Deeds Stand the Test of Time! Ukrainian Kids Honor Lidia Litvyak on Victory Day

Six years ago in San Diego, California, I met Lidia Litvyak (1921-1943) for the first time. Lidia, a feisty, diminutive, blonde teenager was the world’s first female fighter pilot — and to this day, the most successful ever in terms of missions and solo kills. Not surprisingly, she became Hitler’s worst PR nightmare at the tender age of 19.

My discovery, and some subsequent research, led to trips to Russia and Eastern Ukraine, meeting and living with people I had never before met, and a never-before creative collaboration between myself, a Russian Museum curator, Valentina Vaschenko, and a Ukrainian English teacher, Yelena Sivolap.

The surprising output? A best-selling book called Call Sign, White Lily which has set me on an unplanned journey that has yet to end. But, that is for another time, another post. Right now, with Russia’s Victory Day celebration fresh, I wanted to share just one tiny part of my incredible journey in a few pictures.

In the first, circa 2010, I stand at Lidia’s side, in the little town of Krasny Luch, Eastern Ukraine, not far from where Lidia was shot down for a fourth and final time. Her head, fashioned from scraps of plane fragments, reeks of pain and patriotism. I said a prayer of thanks and placed a red rose at the base of the monument.

The second, circa 2015, shows a group of resilient children on Victory Day, May 9th, placing red roses at that same monument, which by the way, sits across a modest square from the Lidia Litvyak School No.1. While the East-West conflict has forced these kind people to suffer much, they offer a lesson to the world. Noble deeds will always stand the test of time.

then-now

DATE: May.12.2015 | CATEGORY: On Russia & Ukraine | COMMENTS: 0