Hero’s funeral for Gagarin
Moscow: The ashes of Yuri Gagarin, the world’s first spaceman, were interred in the red- brick Kremlin walls today after a hero’s funeral in Red Square.
The urns containing the ashes of Gagarin, and fellow Air Force Colonel Vladimir Seryogin, were placed into niches in the historic walls to the left of the Lenin mausoleum by Politburo member Andrei Kirilenko, head of the funeral committee.
The two men were killed on Wednesday when their two- seat jet trainer crashed on a routine training flight near Moscow.
The entire Soviet Union observed a minute of silence immediately after the urns were placed in the walls — traditional resting place of Russian heroes.
An artillery salvo was the only noise to break the nation- wide silence.
A military band, which had been playing funeral dirges all morning, then broke into the Soviet Anthem and black plaques were placed over the niches containing the two urns.
Weeping relatives, including the widows of Gagarin and Seryogin, were helped up to portraits of the two men, placed directly below the niches, all kissed the pictures.
Russians, many weeping filled Red Square for the funeral and lined the streets along which a flower- decked gun carriage carried the funeral urns from the Central Army House, where they had laid in state for two days, to Red Square.