Chicago Community Celebrates Ukraine’s Historical and Contemporary Heroes


CHICAGO – Initiated by the Ukrainian organization “Pomarancheva Khvylia”, in collaboration with the Ukrainian Congress Committee of the America-Illinois Division, the Ukrainian community in Chicago gathered on May 22 to celebrate Ukraine’s Heroes Day .

Members of the Ukrainian community gathered at the Ukrainian National Museum in Chicago for this year’s commemoration. Vasyl Tretyak served as the emcee for the event.

The day is dedicated to all Ukrainians who gave their lives for the freedom and independence of Ukraine throughout the nation’s history, from those who fought in the name of Kyivan Rus to the Ukrainians who are now defending their country in the ongoing war in Donbass. The day was first celebrated in 1941 on May 23, when most Ukrainians in the west of the country commemorate the country’s heroes.
The rally began with the singing of the US national anthem by Ksenya Levkovych and the Ukrainian national anthem by Solomia Khudyk. Recognition of speakers and guests followed. Among those recognized were Andriy B. Futey, Chairman of the Committee of the Ukrainian Congress of America and Vice-Chairman of the Ukrainian World Congress; the Ukrainian Consul General in Chicago Serhiy Koledov; Dan I. Diaczyn, Chairman of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of the America-Illinois Division; Reverend Ivan Lymar of the Ukrainian Orthodox St. Volodymyr Cathedral in Chicago; Roman Yatskivskyy, president of “Pomarancheva Khvylia” and organizer of the event. The event also included representatives of the Belarusian community organization in Chicago.

An opening prayer was led by Reverend Ivan Lymar, who took a moment to remind the audience of the heroes of Ukraine’s liberation struggle at different times in Ukrainian history.

Mr. Koledov, Consul General of Ukraine in Chicago, gave a brief historical overview of the significance of Heroes Day.

“Currently, this holiday is not official; but the tradition of honoring heroes on May 23 is growing in popularity, ”Koledov said. “May is the month in which Mykola Mikhnovsky, founder of the ideology of the Ukrainian independence movement at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, [as well as other] leaders of the Ukrainian liberation movement have been killed.

Mr. Koledov underlined that “the events of the last seven years have added to the pantheon of Ukrainian heroes, the“ heavenly cents ”, as well as the military and volunteers who have defended the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in the struggle continues The Russian Federation. In addition, the heroes are replenished daily… the heroes are also those who help the military, financially and materially; volunteers, medical personnel and those who have taken a fighting stance in the media and on the Internet against the Russian occupiers of eastern Ukraine.

UCCA President Andriy Futey said: “The heroes we honor today knew that Russia will never leave Ukraine alone. When we properly honor the memory of those who died in the struggle for independence, it is very important for all of us to speak with one voice. We are the organ that can tell the world that Russia’s aggression is a threat not only to Ukraine, but also to the whole free and democratic world.

The event included an artistic program prepared by Svitlana Polak and Vita Polak, directors of the studio “Elegia”. Ksenya Levkovych performed the song “Ти повертай лелеко мій” (Return my stork), while Solomia Khudyk performed “Життям заплачу” (I will pay with my life).

“Pomarancheva Khvylia” was created in 2008 by Yuriy Melnyk, Halyna Boryslavska, Taras Vasylyk and Yaroslav Zahaiskyy. The organization strives to include and engage with newcomers from Ukraine to actively participate in the Ukrainian community in Chicago.

Maria Korkatsch-Groszko, Ph.D., is vice-chair of the Ukrainian Congress Committee for the America-Illinois Division.

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