The commemorations included the unveiling and blessing of the National Holodomor Memorial in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, attended by both American and Ukrainian dignitaries, and representatives from every state, including a large contingent of North Port and Southwest Florida residents. Locally, this month’s membership meeting of UNWLA Branch 56, headed by Ann-Marie Susla of Englewood, included a special Holodomor program, and the Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida, headed by Daria Tomashosky of North Port, who together with her husband Eugene attended the Washington festivities, had a special program at its last meeting — a video and picture montage presentation of the Holodomor Monument Dedication in Washington by professor Victor Lisnyczyj of North Port.
Prior to showing the video, Daria read a letter written by Tanya Petroff, daughter of Halya and Victor Lisnyczyj of North Port, which included the following: “… several thousands of Ukrainians dressed beautifully in Ukrainian embroidery and costumes gathered outside in the light rain, proudly waving Ukrainian flags while listening to speeches from several government officials, Holodomor survivors, Ukraine’s first lady, Maryna Poroshenko, and a video message from Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko. An emotional memorial service and an official blessing of the monument led by the patriarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic Churches of the USA and of Ukraine, followed the dedication ceremony.”
Tanya also wrote: “I feel so blessed to have been part of such a historic event in Ukrainian history. My grandparents were Holodomor survivors and I vividly remember their horrific stories of witnessing people dying in front of them.
I remember seeing the tears in their eyes when they retold their stories to my brother and me.”
Special prayers (“Panakhydas”) for the Holodomor victims were held in the North Port Ukrainian churches and in many other cities, including the traditional service in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, attended by government officials and religious leaders of several denominations.
The commemorations of the Revolution of Dignity included wreath layings and special ceremonies with prayers at the memorials for the “Heavenly Hundred” — the more than 100 defenseless students and other volunteers killed during the Revolution by special presidential units of “Berkut” and hired snipers, and for the fallen heroes who now defend Ukraine from Putin’s Russia’s aggression. The commemoration in Kyiv was led by President Petro Poroshenko, while his wife Maryna attended and spoke at the Holodomor dedication in Washington.
My wife Katrusia and I wish our children, grandchildren, great-granddaughters, all other relatives and our friends and neighbors a happy and healthy Thanksgiving Day.
Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobry