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Press Release

TASS Coverage of the Tear-Drop Memorial Wreath Laying 

January 2017

Back to our page on the Tear-Drop Memorial Wreath Laying

Original article in Russian

Translated from Russian by Rachel Douglas.

Memory of Tu-154 Crash Victims Honored in New Jersey, USA January 7, 22:48 UTC+3 Participants in the ceremony sang the Russian and U.S. anthems, as well as the Catholic Christmas carol Adeste Fideles Bayonne /New Jersey/, Jan. 7 /TASS, Ivan Pilshchikov/. A ceremony dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Dec. 25 Tu-154 airplane took place at Zurab Tsereteli's "Tear of Grief" monument in the American town of Bayonne, New Jersey. Participants included representatives of the international Schiller Institute, the New York Police Department (NYPD), and the Bayonne Fire Department.

Russian and U.S. Anthems

About two dozen members of the Schiller Institute chorus, conducted by the musical group's founder Diane Sare, sang the national anthems of the Russian Federation (in Russian) and the United States (in English). In addition, they performed in Latin the Catholic Christmas carol Adeste fideles ("O Come, All Ye Faithful"). The latter was selected because Orthodox believers observe Christmas today.

"I am a professional musician, and when I heard about this crash and the fact that many members of the Alexandrov Ensemble had been on the flight, I was just stunned," Sare told TASS. "This is one of the most awful things that could happen. I wanted there to be some kind of gesture from the U.S. side," she added.

During today's action, members of the NYPD Ceremonial Unit and the Bayonne Fire Department stood by the monument. The law enforcement officers carried the flags of the USA, Russia, and New York. Participants in the ceremony laid flowers at a list of the names of those who died in the Tu-154 crash, which was temporarily attached to the Tear of Grief monument. The latter is a gift from Russia to the American people in memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks of 1993 and 2001.

When Words Are Powerless

The participants in the action were thanked by First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation at the United Nations Pyotr Ilyichov. "There is a belief that when words are powerless, music speaks. Art and culture should bring peace to people," he said.

Sare explained that the New York police had responded eagerly to the Institute's proposal to honor the Tu-154 crash victims. In 2011, the A.V. Alexandrov Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army and the NYPD Ceremonial Unit had performed together in Canada on the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the USA.

On December 28, 2016 the NYPD expressed condolences to the families of Ensemble members who had died in the Tu-154 crash. "Our prayers go out to the families of the Red Army Choir/Alexandrov Military Ensemble, who we performed with in 2011," said a statement posted on the official NYPD Ceremonial Unit's Twitter account.

Attached to the tweet was a two-minute video recording of the performance by the Russian Emsemble's and U.S. musicians, in Canada, of the hymn "God Bless America." Its author was the American composer Irving Berlin, who was born in the Russian Empire in 1918.

At the end of the clip were these words in Russian and English: "We are profoundly sorry about the loss of our friends in the Alexandrov choir. May they rest in peace." This message was cited at the time on the Twitter feed of the Russian Embassy in the United States.

Solving the World's Problems

Sare also read out a statement from Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche. "The improvement of U.S.-Russian relations is an important precondition for solving the problems facing the world," she said. "Without a spirit of cooperation and friendship between these countries, the world is in danger." On Dec. 30, 2016, members of the Schiller Institute chorus laid flowers at the RF General Consulate in New York in memory of the victims of the Tu-154 crash, and sang the Russian national anthem at the entrance to the building.

The Tu-154 crashed on the morning of December 25, 2016, soon after takeoff from the Adler airport. There were 92 people on board: military servicemen, journalists, Dr. Yelizaveta Glinka, and artists of the Alexandrov Ensemble, who were en route to the Hmeymim air base in Syria, to give a New Year's performance for the air group of the Russian Aerospace Forces.