United Help Ukraine, in cooperation with the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, Razom, the Embassy of Ukraine, and local Ukrainian churches, organized a memorial vigil in Washington, D.C. on Sunday afternoon, February 19, 2017, to commemorate the third anniversary of the sacrifice by “Nebesna Sotnya” or the “Heavenly Hundred,” who lost their lives during the Euromaidan protests. In February 2014, government forces under the control of former Ukrainian President Yanukovych shot and killed more than 100 peaceful protesters during what has become known as the Revolution of Dignity, Maidan Revolution, or Euromaidan.
Approximately 150 members of the Ukrainian community and others in the Washington area gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Among those present were Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States Valeriy Chaly, who shared his memories during his participation in Euromaidan. Ambassador Chaly stressed that the struggle for Ukraine continues, now against Russia’s aggression. Ambassador thanked everybody for unity and solidarity with Ukraine.
Nadia McConnell, President of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, noted that February 19 this year falls during the President’s Day weekend in the United States, and the vigil was held in front of Lincoln Memorial. She quoted from President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, that those soldiers at Gettysburg “…gave their lives that that nation might live…”
Anna Kovalenko, Sotnik of 39th Euromaidan self-defense Sotnya (39th Hundred) spoke also and remembered her friends who had been killed during Euromaidan and those who were killed in the war defending Ukraine from the Russian invasion. She noted that it was unimaginable that in our time in the center of Europe civilian people including women, elderly, students, were killed by policemen during a peaceful protest. She also noted that those responsible for the deaths on Maidan still have not been brought to justice. Remarking about the war that will soon enter its fourth year, she noted that it was unthinkable that the Russian leaders who had to be hold accountable for the deaths of tens of thousands of Ukrainians, still were travelling to world conferences and were even considered as members of some coalitions.
Anastasiia Rybytska of Razom also referenced the war entering its fourth year. She said that everyone has their personal reason to help sustain Ukraine’s defense and assistance to those affected by the war, and that all who are doing so need to stand together to maximize support for Ukraine.
In his remarks, Ruslan Zamaray of United Help Ukraine also spoke about the reasons that those present had for attending and for continuing to support Ukraine’s defense. United Help Ukraine a Maidan-born organization that sprang up as a result of the sacrifice that the Ukrainian people have made to fight for their independence, freedom from tyranny, and for their European future. He emphasized that “if by the loss of lives on that day nothing else is accomplished but the unity of all Ukrainians around the world, then their lives were not given in vain. Not only have they united Ukrainian patriots around the world, they have also shown the world that the Ukrainian spirit and thirst for freedom is alive and that Ukrainians are willing to die for it.”
Priests from local churches St. Andrew’s Orthodox Cathedral, Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church, and from Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine of the Holy Family, including Bishop John Bura, auxiliary bishop of the Philadelphia archeparchy, prayed for those who sacrificed their lives for a free democratic Ukraine. Attendees brought candles that they held, Ukrainian and American flags, and photographs of those who sacrificed their lives for a better future for Ukraine. Additional candles supplied by the Ukrainian Embassy were arranged in the shape of a Tryzub around which those gathered stood.
The Ukrainian Weekly report: http://www.ukrweekly.com/uwwp/vigil-in-washington-remembers-heroes-of-the-heavenly-brigade-2/
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