The Last Victory Day Celebrations : Red Square Russia 1989
To the accompaniment of drum and bugle they marched and halted in rows six deep around the massive square.
Thousands of fresh-faced Russian youngsters, dressed in uniforms of death.
Red Square Victory Day celebrations
The political walls of the Kremlin loomed on the right
St Bazils domed and turreted presence, a caricature of religion, in gaudy bright array,
backed by the red bricked façade of Gum, department store of communism, half empty to this day.
Atop the tomb of Lenin the dignitaries assemble, Gorbachev surrounded by decision-making men
A wave of solid sound reverberates around the ranks of soldiers as three loud cheers were commanded.
The crisp air of winter caused tendril breath to rise, and the wind whipped flags, cracked in the lull.
The clock above the Kremlin struck ten……
Then the boom of a dozen cannons shattered the momentary stillness and reverberated around the square. The acrid tang of cordite hung in the air.
From the distance a rumble, like thunder, grew and the cobblestones trembled beneath our feet as the military advanced.
The old tanks of the Crimea slowly trundled into sight. Then faster and faster the machines of war came by.
The squadrons of ever-sophisticated weapons roared across from right to left.
For an hour they kept coming, the senses numbed by their procession.
Overwhelmed, as we were meant to be, by this show of Russian, sabre rattling superiority.
From the guns of Crimea to the deadly accurate missiles of the future. Juggernauts of destruction.
Looking round I saw a frail old man, with medals on his chest, standing rigidly to attention, with tears of remembrance in his eyes.
A woman clutching a young child to her side.
A chill brushed my skin and a lump rose in my throat. I thought of all the horror depicted by these machines of war and uniforms so drab.
Now it is all over, never to be repeated, with military pomp and style the soldiers march away to the beat of drum and bugle.
All that is left is the vibration of their passing, the mournful, staccato flapping of the flags and the pervading smell of cordite.
St Bazils Red Sqare