On TV this morning I saw a home video of the cowardly bombing attack on a parade where peaceful Russians were celebrating "Victory Day" in Kaspiisk. In our local paper, The Chicago Tribune, there was a huge photograph of several soldiers or police collecting musical instruments off of the blood stained street. It made me feel rather ill and it reminded me of a couple of things.
Firstly, it made me think of World War II and how much your people suffered during the war. My father was in the war and he taught me no nation paid a higher price or contributed more towards the victory over Germany than the Soviet Republics. (On May 8, 1945, my father was a forward artillery observer in the XIII Corps of the United States 9th Army and was on the Elbe River in Tangermunde, Germany about 50 miles from Berlin.) So, I played an old video tape which shows Marshall Zhukov on a white horse (followed by three other officers on horseback) galloping triumphantly into Red Square. Later on the tape, there was a clip of Marshall Zhukov in dress whites and General Eisenhower in his "pinks" (U .S. Army dress uniform) laughing and smiling together on the Moscow reviewing stand. It was emotional just watching it and I said to myself, "These men were true comrades in arms."
Secondly, it made me think of the September 11th attacks on New York and Washington where people at peace were suddenly blown to bits without warning or declaration of war. Those attacks have shaken people badly here in the U.S., but it has served to bring the American people together. In America, there is now absolute solidarity.
So, I'd like to express the sorrow and outrage of the Americans at what I'm calling, "the Kaspiisk Massacre". I will pray for the families of the dead and the maimed. Also, I want to thank the Russian people in general, and President Putin in particular, for all the material, intelligence, diplomacy, and moral support you've provided to President Bush and the American people.
It's during the bad times, when you find out who your real friends are.
Sincerely, William Specht Chicago, Illinois, USA
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969