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    Is it easy to be young?
    Main page » Nomination

    Larionova Anastsiya (Salavat, Bashkortostan)

    World War II passed like a dark threatening rain cloud in our country. It took millions of people’s lives and left terrible memories in those who survived. In spite of everything Russian people got over all the difficulties and won in that cruel war. But time flies, and we mention the war more seldom. We forget the dreadful events and the heroes of that war. We remember about them only on May 9, which is celebrated in Russia as Victory day. And what do we, young generation, know about that war? We know about it mainly from history and literature lessons. When I was writing this essay, I wondered whether all my group mates and friends knew the exact date when the war began. The result of my small research was not very positive: some of them answered: "Oh, that was so long ago; I just know the year: 1941”, and the others said: "I am not interested in history.” I think it is a pity that we, the young, know so little about the past. We are mainly interested in the present and especially in the future. But history teaches us that we won’t have the future without the past. That’s why I took up this essay, in order to investigate the subject more deeply.

    The country did all possible and impossible things to resist the enemies. On June 24, 1942, all the most important factories and plants were evacuated from dangerous territories to the eastern parts of Russia, as the fascist troops were quickly moving to the centre of the country. While their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons were at war, women, children and the old helped the country at the home front. They worked on industrial machines and improved production capacities mastering their skills from day to day; they sent weapon, ammunition, warm clothes, and food to the front.

    It is our grandparents and great-grandparents, the present day veterans, who made the history of those difficult times and forged Victory. Every year, more and more of them leave us, and soon we will not have alive witnesses of those events. But they played a great role in the history of our homeland, and their contribution to it was enormous.

    We are living in a hectic time now. We fuss, busy with our life things to do, and we don’t notice small old people lagging along the streets of the town. Moreover, someone can even push them saying: "Do not stand on my way!” And it does not occur to us that exactly to these old people we owe freedom and a peaceful sky above our heads. Everybody who took part in the war performed an exploit, and their faces, eyes, hands, and their deeds can say a lot about them and the time when they lived.

    For this essay, I took an interview from my granny, so now I know much more about her younger years throughout the war. My grandmother’s name is Alexandra Fyodorovna, she is a worker of the rear, a veteran of labour, a hero-mother, who bore the full brunt of difficulties of the war. She was born on April 8, 1931, and had a difficult childhood like many children who lived in the war time. Her family was big and poor, and all the members of her family grew up kind, hard-working, honest and patient. Grandma had two brothers and three sisters. The men of her family were skilled artisans. "My father made different boots for us; many people looked at our soft and beautiful boots and envied us because our foot didn’t freeze in winter and didn’t get soaked in autumn,” remembered Grandma. The women worked at home, weaved, sewed, knitted laces, embroidered beautiful patterns on towels. They played the folk musical instruments: the bayan, the balalaika, sang songs and danced on young people’s gathering. My grandmother clarified: "Although my family was poor, but we lived friendly and always helped each other.”

    But on June 22, 1941, the Great Patriotic War broke out, and Alexandra’s father and her two brothers went to the war. Alexandra stayed at home with her mother and two sisters. At that moment, she was only ten years old, and she remembers the war time only by working. The children had very difficult time. In the morning they went to school and after classes hurried to help adults. In winter all children gathered together, sat down on horses and rode to the forest for hay; they sawed, chopped firewood, and collected brushwood for home and school. Alexandra remembered: "Sometimes it was so cold that a temperature fell down to 40 - 50 degrees centigrade bellow zero. Even birds froze in flight. And we got frostbite in our hands, faces and feet.” She told me that in the evenings they knitted woolen mittens, socks and sweaters. Then they collected all the things and sent them to their relatives to the war. Children also worked in the field: collected hay and straw, bound sheaves, threshed grains. Grandma alluded: "My arms swelled from prickly weeds and exhausting work which was often beyond children’s strength.”

    Alexandra’s mother worked in the collective farm, not sparing herself. She and other village women milked the cows, looked after the calves and horses, fed and gave drink to the cattle, mowed hay. What was gathered from the fields by workers of the rear was sent to the front line of the war. "We left the minimum to ourselves”, said Grandma, "Because people thought of their fathers, brothers and husbands first of all.” All the strong, healthy and capable of working men were mobilized, and the women of the village were anxiously waiting for them.  "I remember how I felt frightened when I saw my neighbour’s father who returned with one hand after hospital. I looked at him and my heart seized up when I thought that my dear father and brothers may also come crippled.”

    Men were taken away to the war; many of them did not come back, a lot of children stayed without their fathers. With tears in her eyes, Alexandra remembered: "My father had time to write only one letter from the front line. When we received a telegram with the news that our father died, all the family cried. We thought that this damned war would never finish!”

    The Great Patriotic War lasted for 1418 days, and all the time people worked hard, not complaining about anything. They starved, lived in cold houses, but they went on sending to the soldiers on the front line everything what they could prepare. "The Victory was foremost, and we tried to bring nearer that great day,” said Grandma. And when that day came on May 9, 1945, all the villagers went out of their houses, threw their hats into the sky, embraced and kissed each other. "That was the best day in my life,” admitted my grandmother. Alexandra Fyodorovna was rewarded for her hard work by the medal "For Valiant Labour during the World War II,” although she was only fourteen at that time. She told me that only six people from her village had got such medals, and I felt a surge of pride for my grandma.

              Today, Alexandra Fyodorovna is a seventy–eight-year old veteran, an old small woman with a wrinkled face and grey hair. Her life is an example of most Russian veterans’ lives at war time. Children of war didn’t ask for any orders, bonuses, privileges; they worked honestly and believed in bright future. They had to restore the country in a short time, because it had been destroyed by the bloody war. I am grateful to these people, because it is thanks to them that we can enjoy our life nowadays. We must be proud of our grandparents and respect them. We mustn’t forget what they had to overcome in that cruel war. Many of them stayed crippled and deprived. Sometimes I hear people complain that life is so difficult now. I wonder what they would have said if they had found themselves at that war time! They would have certainly understood how difficult life may be… Very soon we are having  a great event in our country, the 65th anniversary of Great Victory. I will congratulate my dear grandmother and I think we, the young generation, ought to be thankful to the veterans for this peaceful sky above our heads. History teaches us that people who do not know the past of their Motherland won’t have good future. For my own part, I can’t state here that I know a lot about the history of my country, but I want to know it: I read newspapers, watch news programmes on TV, talk with my grandmother about her views on some past events… I am interested in history, and I think I will be a worthy citizen of Russia.
    Nomination: Essay | Add: DimE (12.03.2010)
    Reads: 205 | Comments: 2 | Rating: 4.5/2
    In all comments: 1
    Thank you Anastsiya))) Your essay is so actual and important for youth..I agree that we should remember and respect our history...It is a pride of our fatherland...

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