Sunday, August 31, 2003

Russian nuclear sub sinks on its way to scrapyard; nine sailors killed
Looks like it was of the same age and class as the one shown last year in K-19. Those things were deathtraps even when they were new!

The Barents Sea is the same dangerous place where the Americans lost a spy sub, the USS Cochino, in 1949.

Remembering a friend
He died yesterday afternoon: one of 'the greatest generation' Tom Brokaw talks so much about, he was as Russian as he was American and proud of his Cossack heritage. His parents were post-1917 exiles, his father an Orthodox priest. (He didn't learn till after the collapse of the USSR that he still had family over there.) He was born in an East Coast city, in a rectory next to the ethnic-Ruthenian church his Great Russian father served. (The family spoke and read Russian, the congregation a kind of Ukrainian and couldn't read Cyrillic.) There was a move to another church in the city, this time one that shared his Great Russian heritage, then World War II meant two years' service in the Army Air Forces, stationed in England as the ground crew for big four-engine B-24 bombers. (Including for the bombing of Dresden, which haunted him even when I knew him. Another Christian for peace.) A career as a prison guard followed, and he looked and could act the tough-guy part! But the man I knew had been retired a long time, blessed with family and a lot of time to read and think: about all those Bible readings and Russian Orthodox prayers he'd heard all his life, and what they really mean. (This fierce-looking fellow was known even to cry at funerals!) I dare say he was well on his way to becoming a saint. Glad to have known you, Alyosha!

Со святыми упокой, Христе, душы раб твоих, идеже несть болезнь ни печаль ни воздыхание, но жизнь безконечная. Вечная память.

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