““I love you dad…” A teary-eyed Gabriel Vanderwalker, 12, tells his dad, John, after arriving at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport from the Soviet Union, where the children’s Seattle Peace Theater group was supposed to perform before the military coup changed their plans.
The group, consisting of 15 young performers aged 9-13 along with 5 adult guardians, were in Moscow on August 18 during the attempted overthrow of President Mikhail Gorbachev by high-ranking members of the military and Communist Party.
Immediate arrangements were made by the U.S. Embassy to evacuate the children and return them to the United States. Although the coup d’état appeared to be unsuccessful embassy officials were still concerned about the possibility of violence by hardline Communist elements within the Soviet Armed Forces and government. – 8/28/91”