Generations change, decades pass, but spiritual values remain and bear ideas of freedom and humanity, an ability to remember your heroes and honour those who are still with you. “The Day of Remembrance and Honour” in Uzbekistan is a nation-wide tribute to the memory of our sons and daughters who for centuries heroically defended our Motherland, its freedom, independence and peaceful life.
At the initiative of President Islam Karimov, May 9 has been observed as a nation-wide holiday since 1999. On this day Uzbekistan remembers those who have gone through ordeals and difficulty, participated in the war against fascism, showed heroism by defending their Motherland and their national heroes – Tumaris, Spitamen, Najmiddin Kubro, Namaz-Batir, etc., who sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom that the nation had dreamed of for centuries. Other such heroes include Kadyri, Bekhbudi, Munavvar-kari, Chulpan, Avloni, Fitrat, and Usman Nasyr. Veterans of war, aksakals (elderly people) and all the people who contributed to the victory over fascism are shown dues and gratitude.
This year – Year of Social Protection and 62nd anniversary of the victory over fascism – the holiday has gained a special meaning. Veterans of war know better than anyone else what this victory cost them. Our compatriots who displayed heroism in the front and courage in the rear had a large part to play in achieving victory. 338 of them earned the title of Hero, 53 were presented with the medals “Shukhrat” (Courage) of all three levels, and over 604 had returned home handicapped. The names of 400 thousand people who did not make it home are perpetuated on the golden pages of the 33-volume Book of Memory. These are not just figures; they determined the fates of people, their courage and valor, worthy of the loftiest praise ever.
A true civil feat was also performed by the citizens of Uzbekistan who accepted into their families thousands of refugees from the territories occupied by fascists. These families gave warmth and care to children plighted by war. During the war, Uzbekistan provided home to more than 200 thousand children from Russia, Ukraine, Poland and other countries. Orphanages would have lines of people waiting to adopt ill-fated kids – the fact that does not have analogs anywhere in the world. Families would adopt several kids at a time and care for them as though they were their own kids in order to bring them up and heal their spiritual wounds.
To preserve the memory of the outstanding feats of man and be able to value him is a unique spiritual wealth, one that is undeletable. It has turned into a kind tradition for veterans of war to congregate on Memory square. This is a special day for them when they remember the days they went through and those who had been with them.
This year, this place had unusually many people. Those who gathered to pay their dues to those who perished in the war included members of the Parliament, military, citizens and visitors to the capital Tashkent. A large number of bright spring flowers adorned the bottom of the statue to the Mourning Mother, where the memory is eternal, where the heartbeat of the nation is enshrined.
“The duty of those who are alive is to remember those who devoted their lives to their Motherland and their people. The respect for elderly people proves the inseparability of bonds between generations”, said President Islam Karimov in his speech.
Memory and honour: these are two words that harmoniously incorporate heroism, generosity, love, charity, care and mercy. Only a loving heart filled with kindness and mercy is able to remember the history, to honor great ancestors and cherish those who work for the good of their Motherland. By showing deep respect for veterans, the government cares for them and provides them with all-round assistance and support. In accordance with the presidential resolution “On encouraging the veterans of World War II”, signed on the eve of the holiday, all participants of the war were given memorable gifts and money rewards. Ministries, establishments, public organizations, Funds “Nuroniy” and “Makhalla”, and other organizations held festive events with the participation of veterans of war in makhallas, at enterprises, at schools, parks and museums. An event held at one of Tashkent’s best restaurants which was attended by over 400 veterans was especially impressive. Among them were disabled veterans, members of families of those who died in the war. It was pleasing to see their happy and smiling faces. They were given flowers and presents made available by the Fund “Nuroniy”, Women’s Committee, Tashkent mayor’s office, and International Charitable Fund “Soglom avlod uchun” (For a healthy generation). Famous singers and musicians performed their best songs.
“I’m immeasurably happy that I have lived to this day”, said Holik Olimhonov, a disabled veteran of war. “This year the Day of Remembrance and Honor is being celebrated broadly, and the fact that they have organized this grand event and made us so happy is another evidence of the attention of care given by the government. We feel this not only on holidays but also on ordinary days”.
During the festive days, veterans in Uzbekistan were honoured in all regions throughout the Republic. Trips were organized to Tashkent, Bukhara, Samarkand, Termez, Urgench and Khiva.They visited holy places of worship for Bakhauddin Naqshbandi, Imam al-Bukhari, Hoji Akhror Vali, Abdukholik Gijduvani and At-Termezi. Meetings with young people were organized as well. In spite of their age, elderly people receive as much attention as everyone else in public and political spheres. With their diligence and commitment, they serve as an example for the youth. Their knowledge, rich life experience and wise advice contribute to the appropriate upbringing of the new generation in the spirit of commitment to their Motherland and the ideology of Independence.
Around 2,8 million retired people live in Uzbekistan. Over 18 thousand of them are participants and disabled veterans of war, over 227 thousand are those who worked in the rear, and around 2,6 thousand are people who reached or are over the age of 100.
“None of the veterans fall through the crack”, said Ibragim Rasulov, Advisor of the Fund “Nuroniy” in Tashkent for social protection of veterans of war. “We do our best to create all the conditions that would make their life better. And this year, “A Year of Social Protection”, efforts to provide them with all-round assistance have been ramped up”. In compliance with the State Program “Year of Social Protection”, 390 million soums is to be allocated for assistance, social services for families with many children, single elderly people, retired and handicapped people. Besides pensions and monetary assistance, annually, veterans of war are provided with free healthcare, treatment at resorts, free rides in public transportation, discounted prices for utilities. In the first quarter of the current year only, over 70 million soums worth of assistance was made available for this segment of the population.
Jointly with the Ministry of Labor and Social Maintenance of the Population, over a thousand people were provided with wheelchairs and around 400 – with hearing aids, for a total cost of 221,6 million soum. In accordance with regional programs, the houses of 255 single elderly people were repaired. This deed was made possible by sponsors who allocated 30,6 million soum for this purpose. Also, in compliance with the State Program, 13,8 thousand financially disadvantaged families were given cattle and another 3,5 thousand such families were provided with 2,9 billion soum worth of micro-credit made available by the fund which provides employment assistance. Almost 1,5 thousand jobs were created for handicapped people. Also, 26 thousand single people and 121 financially disadvantaged families received assistance thanks to sponsors.
These are only figures that cannot compete with human qualities such as love, mercy, charity and generosity. Only people whose hearts are not void of kindness and compassion are able remember history, their prominent forefathers and those who work in the name of a bright future.
Participation in front battles, selfless labor in factories, plants and fields, adoption of orphans exacted great spiritual courage. Shortly after the war began, a fund of defense was established. Groups of people would bring cash, bonds and gold jewelry to the fund. In summary, people in Uzbekistan invested a total of 4 billion rubles. Uzbekistan became a solid rear for the army, where battle preparations would take place. During the initial years of the war, 9 shooting brigades, 5 horse divisions were formed, and scores of troops were set up. Warriors from Uzbekistan participated in the defense of Brest Fortress, Kiev, Smolensk, Odessa, Sevastopol and other cities.
The outburst of the war entailed an urgent reconstruction of the national economy of Uzbekistan. More than 2 thousand aircraft, 1,7 thousand aircraft engines, as many mortars, 22 million mines, 560 thousand projectiles, around 500 thousand grenades, 330 thousand parachutes, 5 armored trains and over 100 thousand km of wires were sent to the front.
Noting could break a sense of dignity. The people of Uzbekistan shared all that they had. Most importantly, people would readily show generosity. Wise people would speak of the crucial role man’s inner world and psyche played in a fight with any mishap. Therefore, the significance of arts which played a tremendous role on those horrendous days is immeasurable.
In spite of the ongoing war, Uzbek art would continue to flourish, said Rikhsi Ibragimova, a People’s Artist of Uzbekistan. “Throughout five lengthy years artists, musicians and cinematographers would toil in the rear as well. They made significant contributions to the victory by inspiring soldiers for new feats. During the war, Uzbek cinematographers made movies and film concerts which by means of special brigades were taken to the front. Songs in these movies would touch the deepest feelings of soldiers and all who worked to end the war by reviving hopes for victory”.
Among these film concerts are “Alpomish”, “Vatan sovg’asi” (a present from the Motherland), and a musical play “O’zbekiston qilichi” (The sword of Uzbekistan) created by a group of Uzbek composers. A famous Uzbek dancer Mukarrama Turgunbayeva performed a beautiful dance to the play. During the war, about twenty concert brigades were established. The most famous of them was the ensemble led by Gavkhar Rakhimova. The ensemble was composed of famous personalities such as Tamara Hanum, Liza Petrosova, Kommuna Ismailova, and other distinguished artists who performed courageously in military units. Soldiers who were in hospitals with wounds would listen to Uzbek and Russian songs with inspiration. Uzbek composers gave birth to new songs which would then become popular: “Qiz qo’shig’i” (A girl’s song) composed by Yunus Rajabi and lyrics by Hamid Olimjon, a famouse uzbek poet; “Chevar qiz” (A seamstress) composed by Manas Leviyev and lyrics by Vokhid Abdullayev. Songs about family, mothers, girls and children – eternal values – helped people withstand hardship both in war and front.
On the day the victory was achieved, premieres of plays such as “Alisher Navoi”, “Hamlet”, movies “Takhir and Zukhra” were played. The latter, according to a military writer Mirzo Kalon Ismoiliy, was watched even by people in Germany when a Banner of Victory was hoisted above Reichstag.
Time goes on and takes with it lives of those who brought the Victory. They turn into legends, songs, granite and marble monuments. What remains for us to do is to remember the melody wafting through the bustle of daily life, the melody we call the Great Victory.
Nadezhda TSURENKO, veteran of WW II:
The Day of Remembrance and Honor is the dearest holiday of mine. I was seventeen years old when the war broke out and my classmates had to go to war one after another. My friends and I also wanted to contribute to the victory by helping out. After completing medical courses, we went to the front as well. We had to do more than we had been to do in the rear. I wouldn’t wish upon anybody what we saw and experienced. Therefore I want to address young people and tell them one important thing: take care of your Motherland and love it.
For the sake of hope and the future
Haidarjon ota KUZIBAYEV, veteran of WW II:
We appreciate the respect we have been shown and feel the state support not only on holidays. On May 9, veterans of World War Two got together with young people in cities and villages throughout Uzbekistan. We have a lot to tell them. We, veterans of war, could do a lot by giving young people advice and fostering in them a sense of patriotism and commitment to Motherland. They are our hope and our future.
A great and dear holiday
Lidiya MAKHMUDOVA, veteran of WW II:
The Day of Remembrance and Honor has always been great and dear holiday for us. We never forget about the war and are happy that we survived. After the war, I and my husband came to Tashkent from Berlin. I was given an incredibly warm welcome and I was happy all these years that I found a second motherland. I learned the Uzbek language, traditions and customs. We have four children. After the war, we adopted two more girls. At present, I live with my children and grandchildren. The Uzbek nation had wonderful traditions. It is great that young people take care of their parents. It is also wonderful that the government cares for them too. We were glad to learn of the Presidential Decree “On the encouragement of veterans of World War Two”
Surviving to win
Kommuna ISMAILOVA, 80 year-old, veteran of WW II and people’s artist of Uzbekistan:
I went to the front at the age of fourteen. From 1943 to 1945, I performed before soldiers in the ensemble headed by Gavkhar Rakhimova. We were in the First and Second, and then the Third Ukrainian Fronts. It was very scary but we got used to that. I believe what we felt was nothing as compared with what was felt by young boys who fought in the battlefields. In order to help them and inspire them, we were not supposed to have any fear. The site where we gave concerts was only 3 kilometers from the front line. Then there would be battles after which we helped medical personnel to move wounded boys out of battlefields. We had to live. We had to win. And we had to do our utmost to maintain in our soldiers a strength of spirit and faith in victory. We gave a total of 1200 concerts. We had to go through a lot. And this holiday and out peaceful life tells us that our efforts were not in vain. The Day of Remembrance and Honor is a bright evidence that no one has been forgotten and those who contributed to our common victory are enjoying care and attention. We are happy that we have lived to these bright days.
Happy that I have lived to see victory…
Holik OLIMHONOV, disabled veteran of WW II:
I am immeasurably happy that I have lived to this day. It is very pleasing to see and feel the constant support from the government, “Nuroniy” Fund, and the makhalla… This applies to many spheres; healthcare, resort treatment, etc. Everything we did during the horrendous war, we did for the sake of our children and grandchildren so that they would live happily, could attend schools, work, and build families, so that they would not experience the grief of loss and horrors of war. It is my hope that young people in Uzbekistan will serve their country and will be proud of what they did when they reach our age.
Dilbar ALIMJANOVA, Director of the Fund “Sog’lom avlod uchun” (For a healthy generation):
We attach great importance to the life experience of our veterans of war because they have passed though a long school life. And we try to make them happy and bring smiles on their faces. One of these days, our Fund is planning to give 10 million soum worth of physiotherapeutic equipment, furniture, and home appliances to a sanatorium for veterans and retired people in Kasansai district, Namangan province. We are also co-founders of the Fund “Alleya pamyati” (Alley of memory) which brigs together people who were evacuated to Tashkent while children. Over 400 thousand of our compatriots perished during the Second World War. Almost 130 thousand people disappeared without trace, which is a huge loss. The unknown fates of these people who gave their lives for the sake of their Motherland are thought-provoking. We must carry on with searching for information about them and restore the historical justice.
Ensuring a peaceful future
Sorahon AKHMEDOVA, deputy of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis and member of the Committee for Defense and Security Issues:
Maintaining security is the primary task and duty of any country. Within the Parliament’s work, this facet is attached a great deal of importance. We must not only protect the attainments of our fathers during the war but also do everything within our means to prevent war and armed conflicts in our country. The national legislation and participation in international treaties and unions have a large part to play in this regard. During the years of independence, Uzbekistan has shaped its legislative base in this sphere. As an active member of international relations, Uzbekistan joined a number of international agreements and conventions such as the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Non-Proliferation Treaty, and Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials.
We’ll never forget
Odatkhon KURBANOVA, head specialist of Tashkent Regional Department of “Makhalla” Fund:
Currently, at least 2000 veterans of war reside in Tashkent province. They have all been provided with material support. On the occasion of the 62nd anniversary of the Victory over fascism in World War Two, festive tables were laid for the veterans in many villages. In military units, veterans met with soldiers of fixed-period military service. Of special note is the meeting that took place in Pskom, Bostanlik district, where regional representatives of the “Makhalla” Fund, “Adolat” (Justice) Party, and the Institute for the Study of Civil Society organized meetings of veterans of war and elderly people with young the youth. The meeting culminated in the handing of presents to the veterans and retired people. As President Islam Karimov said in his speech on May 9, we must not just care for those who survived but also perpetuate the names of those who sacrificed their lives for there is no future without historical memory. A nation that does not know their history cannot have a bright future.
A feat worthy of worship
Doniyor ASRAROV, military of Tashkent garrison:
We, the young generation, are thankful to all those who exhibited heroism in battlefields defending our Motherland in the name of a bright and beautiful future. Their courage and acts are worthy of profound admiration. Their lives are a vivid example of whole-hearted service to Motherland.
We attempt to be like them, and serving in the army is both a duty and honor for us. On these festive days, the State Museum of History hosted a meeting with veterans of war. They told us the ordeal they had to go through in while in the front. Their stories have inspired us to be like them and to be worthy of their tremendous military and civil feat. They plant in us a strong sense of responsibility before our country and the whole nation.