CELEBRATIONS AND COMMEMORATIONS OF UKRAINE'S INDEPENDENCE
Ambassador Yuri Shcherbak hosts celebrations in Washington
by Yaro Bihun
WASHINGTON - The Ukrainian Embassy marked the sixth anniversary of Ukraine's independence with a ceremony at the Taras Shevchenko Monument in the nation's capital and a reception at the embassy.
On August 22, Ambassador Yuri Shcherbak led a large delegation of Ukrainian diplomats to the Ukrainian poet's monument erected here in 1964 by the Ukrainian American community. Assisted by the Embassy's press and cultural attaché Natalia Zarudna, he placed a basket of flowers at the foot of the monument and spoke about the importance of the anniversary to the gathered diplomats and a small group of Ukrainian Americans that came to be part the event.
"We came to remind ourselves of that which is lasting and undying, to attest to our determination to build a free and independent Ukraine," Ambassador Shcherbak said.
"Six years is but a brief moment in the history of mankind," he said, "but it is a part of a long, never-ending journey toward Ukrainian independence. For hundreds of years the Ukrainian people yearned for independence. Millions of people died for an independent Ukraine, and only six years ago were we able to renew our nationhood," he said.
Ambassador Shcherbak pointed out that he had just returned from a meeting in Kyiv of Ukraine's ambassadors and consul generals. Together with the foreign minister, he said, they visited Taras Shevchenko's grave in Kaniv, to reunite with Ukraine's "mighty spiritual roots" that grew into the Cherkassian soil.
Another demonstration of Ukrainians coming together was taking place in Kyiv at the Second World Forum of Ukrainians, he said, where representatives of Ukrainians living in 46 countries were affirming the reunification of a people, artificially divided and scattered around the world throughout Ukraine's long history.
"The differences between Ukrainians who grew up in Ukraine and those who were raised on foreign soil but remained Ukrainian are diminishing," he said. "We are proud to now be a part of one, undivided people."
"Standing as we are in front of the statue of the young poet, the young revolutionary, a man who suffered much and became the sacred shrine of all that is Ukrainian, let us pledge to do all that we can to ensure that Ukraine will forever remain an independent nation," Ambassador Shcherbak said.
The ambassador expressed his country's gratitude to the Ukrainian American community for the moral, spiritual as well as material support it has constantly given Ukraine, and he invited those present to join in the anniversary reception, which was held that evening at the Embassy.
On Independence Day, August 24th, the Washington Ukrainian American community marked the anniversary with a special program at St. Andrew's Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral hall, at which Mr. Shcherbak spoke, and at an annual picnic, sponsored jointly by The Washington Group, an association of Ukrainian-American professionals, and the Self-Reliance Baltimore Federal Credit Union.
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, August 31, 1997, No. 35, Vol. LXV
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