FAIRBANKS, Alaska - A wreath and carnations were laid at the Lend-Lease Memorial in Downtown Fairbanks, on Thursday to mark the 74th anniversary of Germany's World War II surrender on May 9th, 1945. To commemorate the event, Fairbanks citizens joined to remember the war, and the people who never returned from battle. They also recognized the Lend-Lease agreement between the two countries that was integral to winning the war, and which played a significant role in Alaskan history.
Former Borough Mayor, Luke Hopkins, read a letter from The mayor of Fairbanks' Russian sister city, Yakutsk, after Reverend Andrew Wassilie read the invocation. Pete Haggland of the Pioneer Air Museum read the Victory Day Address, and Aleksandr Serkov ended the ceremony with closing sentiments. Serkov was only two when Germany surrendered, but he spoke about what it was like living in a war torn Russia. "It's so easy for me to go back in time, 70 - 75 years, and see in my mind those pictures that were left by war... ruined cities, ruined villages. The relationships between Russia and the United States are not as passioned as they used to be, but let’s hope it's going to pass as well. Everything passes and this shall pass too,” said Serkov. At the height of the Lend-Lease agreement, about 300 soviets were stationed at Ladd Army Air Field here in Fairbanks, and flew planes over the Bering Sea to Russia.