The Saratogian (Saratoga Springs, NY)
Posted on September 25, 2004
By Thomas Dimopoulos
SARATOGA SPRINGS -- What once would have been an inconceivable notion became reality Friday when young musicians from the Schuylerville Central Schools performed the Russian national anthem on a sun-filled afternoon in Congress Park.
The moment was not lost on school Principal Michael Mugits.
'We once grew up in fear of each other and as adversaries, but now we are partners,' he said. Even as the two nations are joined together as 'unfortunate victims of terrorism,' they are also united in a hopefulness of a prosperous and peaceful future, he said.
The occasion of the ceremony was to welcome five Russian educators visiting the Spa City this week, commemorating the sister city bond shared between Saratoga Springs and Chekhov, Russia.
The delegation is here as part of the international Open World Program, based in Washington, D.C. They will tour area schools, community organizations and educational facilities during their weeklong stay.
The ceremony also included the planting of a lilac tree near the carousel. Lilacs were a favorite of Anton Chekhov. Chekhov's summer cottage is surrounded by lilacs in the city that bears his name, located approximately 60 miles south of Moscow.
The lilac tree planted in Congress Park is estimated to grow approximately 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide. It is expected that it will continue to grow well into the future, until the young musicians who performed in Friday's ceremony reach their golden years.
[Reprinted with Permission]