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It took Lilia just 47 years to receive her just due!

Circa 1990. Hero of the Soviet Union, the highest military medal awarded by the USSR

Thanks to the diligence of former military officer, and later curator of the Lilia Liyvyak Museum in tiny Krasny Luch, Ukraine, Valentina Vaschenko, Lt. Lilia Litvyak was posthumously named a hero of the Soviet Union by President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990, 47 years after she perished without a trace.

Circa 1951. Officer Valentina at the beginning of her search for Lilia’s remains

During the ensuring years, Valentina formed the Scouts of Glory, a group of patriotic teenagers who searched the fields for traces of the downed pilot. In 1976, the group discovered her plane fragments, which lead to the discovery of her remains in what was called a general gravesite, where unnamed soldiers were buried.

Circa. 1969. Two of the Scouts of Glory after a search mission

It took Valentina another 14 years of persistent requests and denials, to get Lilia her just due. Today, the small museum remains in the battle-torn area of Eastern Ukraine, and although Valentina has since passed, the monument of Lilia Litvyak proudly remains in the center of town.

Lilia Litvyak monument in the middle of Krasny Luch with 15 stars celebrating her solo kills.

DATE: Jun.18.2021 | CATEGORY: My Books