On August 24, 2018, the Ukrainian Americans community will be commemorating the 27th anniversary of Ukraine’s renewed independence. In 1991, following centuries of struggle and repression, the Parliament of Ukraine heroically declared an independent, sovereign, and democratic Ukrainian state.
Over 90% of Ukraine’s citizens voted to affirm their independence in a national referendum that same year, including a majority of voters in every region of Ukraine as well as a majority of votes amongst every national minority. This was a heroic move by the Ukrainian people as, for centuries they had endured and overcome countless attempts by the Russian empire and, later the Soviet totalitarian regime, to eradicate their nation of 45 million. Sadly, after centuries of foreign domination, Ukraine to this day continues to struggle to maintain its sovereignty against Russian-supported terrorists.
For over four years now, Ukrainians have suffered much hardship. Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea, and its government’s continued support of terrorists in the Donbas, has resulted in over 10,000 casualties and close to 2 million internally displaced persons. Yet while this terrible war rages on, Ukraine’s government continues to implement desperately needed economic reforms to help stabilize the country for the benefit of its citizens.
Ukrainian Americans continue to make significant contributions to the cultural fabric of the United States while never forgetting about their rich history and heritage, more than 100 years since first immigrating to this great nation, with which they share the collective U.S.-Ukrainian values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.
Ukraine has always had a special bond with the United States, with a an over 20-year working relationship on U.S.-NATO deployments, with Ukraine sending servicemen and women to serve alongside U.S. forces in theaters such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
Portions of Ukraine’s territory are currently under foreign military occupation, we recognize the territorial integrity of Ukraine as sovereign and inviolable, and honor the efforts and sacrifice of the men and women fending off further Russian military advances in Ukraine’s Donbas, and the U.S. servicemen and women currently training Ukraine’s National Guard to defend their homeland.
We remain deeply concerned by the continued illegal imprisonment and torture of Ukrainian political prisoners by the Russian Federation, and the all too common “disappearance” of activists, journalists, or ethnic minorities such as the indigenous Crimean Tatars in the areas of Ukraine currently illegally occupied by Russian forces.
We do hereby proclaim this day/week August 24, 2018 as Ukrainian Independence Day and request and urge all citizens to join in commemorating this important anniversary. On this day, let us recommit ourselves to helping the Ukrainian nation reclaim full sovereignty over its international borders and remember its heroes who sacrificed their lives to ensure freedom and happiness of the future generations.
Please join us for the solemn flag raising ceremonies and community celebrations as per calendar schedule.