To celebrate Veteran's Day, San Jose has a modest downtown parade with a working-class, personal, and friendly feel and since it's San Jose, the crowd is very integrated and multi-ethnic. Since I've read a fair amount of political vitriol lately, this event provides a pleasant contrast.
Last year, I remember seeing in the parade Viet Nam vets as well as Vietnamese vets. This year, I had an even bigger surprise. Following a banner proclaiming "Soviet Veterans of World War II," fifteen or twenty elderly men and women walked in the parade, mostly carrying American flags although there was at least one with the former Soviet Union flag.
Is it right to have these people in this parade? Let me think it through. The holiday celebrates living veterans so that's good. But weren't these our enemies at one time? My WWI history is weak but I don't think Czarist Russia was particulary anti-American. Then, at the beginning of WW II, the Soviet Union was allied with Germany but at some point, flipped, bore the brunt of the German military machine, and played a (the?) major role in the defeat of the common enemy. Things turned worse for decades and then it got better.
So, the ex-soldiers in today's parade represent our valliant allies at the time, without which life would be much different. Three cheers for these as well as our traditional veterans...
By the way, Stephen Hickens recommends music for today, including John Adams' civil war-based The Wound-Dresser.
Back to the United States and it's sometime enemy, I don't know how much American classical music was performed during the Soviet era. I do have a CD box set of an 1988 Leningrad contemporary music festival, with music by Schnittke, Gubaidulina, Tchaikovsky, etc., and the Lithuanian Philharmonic Orchestra performing John Adams' Harmonielehre. Mike Silverton reviews this performance and others of the same work here.
Finally, an apparently positive comment from a Russian chat board:
John Adams и все-все-все Единочаятели! Скажите о Джоне Адамсе! Очень любопытно как кто к нему относится, особенно к масштабным симфоническим произведениям типа "Harmonielehre". Ответы можно не аргументировать.