Victory Day is celebrated on May 9th in Russia and many other former Soviet Republics. The country’s second most popular holiday – after New Year’s Day – marks Germany’s surrender to the Soviet Union in 1945, and becoming the canonical end of World War II, also known as the Great Patriotic War.

For nearly 70 years, Russia has commemorated millions of people who perished and honor the surviving Veterans. Parades are organized throughout the county as tribute to the bravery and heroism of the people who saved their country from Nazi invasion.

Veterans proudly wear medals of honor on their chests as they share their stories of war and victory with younger generations. They carry fresh flowers, particularly red carnations and tulips and lay them down as wreaths at memorial sites to demonstrate respect for their fallen fellows.

Families gather around festive tables to celebrate survivors and recall the struggles of their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Around the world, there are in fact, less than one million WW II Veteran alive today, out of a total 16 million that survived the war. And so, as years pass and the Veterans get older, the responsibility of honoring and remembering the past becomes ever so greater.