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Honoring veterans of WWII in Brighton Beach

Decorated hero: Abraham Shapovnikov — who was a solider from September of 1941 to January of 1944 — was one of 19 World War II veterans honored at Family Day in Brighton Beach on May 3.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Residents celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory in World War II by honoring war heroes at Family Day in Brighton Beach on May 3.

Nineteen veterans from across the globe were celebrated at the commemoration of the anniversary during an outdoor festival on Coney Island Avenue that stretched from Brighton Beach Avenue to the Riegelmann Boardwalk.

The celebration, hosted by the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District, was a “party with a purpose,” according to one of the organizers.

“It’s a celebration honoring ‘The Greatest Generation’ and veterans whose courage and sacrifices allow us to enjoy the freedom and diversity that make America great,” said Yelena Makhnin, the executive director of the business group.

Allies from around the world were recognized — there were 15 veterans from the former Soviet Union, plus veterans who served in the American, British, French, and Canadian armed forces.

Makhnin said it is important for the community to honor the heroes while there is still time.

“I feel grateful to do something for them because we don’t know how long they’re going to be with us,” she said.

Neighborhood businesses lined the streets to sell attendees food and drinks during the all-day event. There were also numerous performers at the ceremony, including a jazz band, folk musicians, ballet dancers from the Brighton Ballet Theater, and singers and dancers from PS 215 and IS 228.

The best part about the performances were that they inspired the former soldiers to dance, according to Makhnin, who said she was thrilled to watch the veterans just enjoy themselves.

“It was the most rewarding moment,” she said.

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at vogle@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507. Follow her attwitter.com/oglevanessa.
Many medals: Yuzef Dobrinsky, a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of Berlin, displays his numerous medals.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

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