The only Ukrainian American Veterans post in Florida, Cpl. Roman G. Lazor Post 40 in North Port, participates in all Memorial Day and Veterans Day observances since its formation a decade ago. This year was no exception.
On Friday, a detachment of Post 40 members, with a color guard led by UAV National Commander and Past Post Commander Ihor W. Hron of Osprey took an active part in the 25th annual Memorial Day program atVenice Memorial Gardens. Coordinator of the program was UAV national chaplain, Post 40 past post commander and past commandant of the Marine Corps League Detachment 948, Marian Bojsiuk of North Port, who also led the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the program. The Rev. Roman Badiak, Post 40 chaplain and USMC veteran of St.
Petersburg, delivered both the invocation and benediction. It was a pleasure to see and hear the performance of theVenice Middle School band and chorus, as well as see theVMSYoung Marines.Venice Memorial Gardens and Farley Funeral Homes are to be congratulated for their display of patriotism by sponsoring such a program, as well as the picnic and balloon release afterward.
A “Panakhyda” (requiem service) for the repose of souls of all departed veterans, sponsored by Post 40, was celebrated at the conclusion of Sunday’s divine liturgy (Mass) at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church. Celebrants were the Rev. Dr. Severyn Kovalyshin, pastor, and the Rt. Rev. Mitred Archpriest Wolodymyr Woloszczuk, pastor-emeritus. The church choir, under the direction of Lubow Ingram of Venice, sang the responses. Post 40 members, led by UAV National Commander Hron, with the honor guard, marched in before the start of the Panakhyda and stood in the center aisle during the service, and rendered a hand salute during the singing of “Veechnaya Pamyat” (eternal memory). Hron and yours truly (past national commander) held the traditional candles during the service, and the choir initiated, with the congregation joining in, singing “God Bless America” at the end of the Panakhyda.
On Monday, members and the color guard of Post 40 (constituting the largest veterans component), led by post Commander Col. Roman Rondiak, USA (Ret.) of Osprey, took part in the annual Memorial Day ceremony hosted by American Legion Post 254 at Veterans Park near the North Port Library, as the group has every year since its formation. It was refreshing to hear an almost professional rendition of the national anthem sung by Lamarque Elementary student Brianna Guin. Keynote speaker Joe McGee, American Legion Department of Florida 2nd vice commander, in his brief but impressive speech, called on new immigrants to our country to learn and show appreciation of veterans being honored on Memorial Day, whose sacrifices made it possible for them to come to this country and enjoy its benefits.
In addition to Post 40 members and their spouses, there were several other Ukrainian American community representatives at the ceremony, but the members of the new Ukrainian immigrant community were conspicuous by their absence.
The Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida will meet at 6 p.m. today at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center, known as the “Oseredok.”
There will be no regular monthly Post 40 membership meeting on June 5 at the Oseredok. Members and their significant others will meet at noon at Heron Creek Golf & Country Club off Sumter Boulevard in North Port for a luncheon.
Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at atanask@aol. com.
Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn