Day of Memory and Honour is an annual holiday in Uzbekistan to remember the end of World War II. It is always commemorated on 9 May.
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ON 9 May, 1945, the USSR announced the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of World War II in Europe. This event was long called Victory Day, and still is in many countries. But Uzbekistan decided to change the name to Day of Memory and Honour in 1999 to avoid too close an association with the USSR or with Russia.
The Day of Memory and Honour is dedicated to those who gave their lives in World War II on the Allied Side. Uzbekistan was deeply involved in this conflict, if under Soviet supervision, and over 450,000 Uzbeks died in the war. Almost every single household in Uzbekistan had a family member who died, was wounded, or at least served in World War II.
In Uzbekistan, thousands gather every 9 May at monuments to the fallen and at a mass grave where many who served were buried. People bring flowers to decorate this grave and to remember the beauty of courage in a memory that is otherwise harsh and ugly. Many families in Uzbekistan took in refugees from other parts of the USSR and even adopted many orphaned children.
On the Eve of 9 May, many go to visit the remaining, living World War II veterans. They bring flowers, food, and small gifts. They talk to them about the old days.