CANORA - As the Russian invasion of Ukraine drags on, Canora and area residents gathered at the Ukrainian Heritage Museum to mark the 32nd anniversary of Ukrainian independence.
Audrey Hrycak welcomed all those in attendance at the Aug. 24 event. “At this time when they are struggling so hard in Ukraine to maintain their freedom and independence, we salute them for their heroic efforts,” said Hrycak. “We pay tribute to the courage and valour of the Ukrainian people defending their freedom and independence, and we support them. Slava Ukrayini!”
The group raised their voices together to sing the Ukrainian Hymn Shohe Ne Vemerla Ukrainy (Ukraine Hasn’t Diet Yet).
Father Ivan Simko led in a prayer for Ukraine. “O Lord our God, You are the only God in heaven and on earth. You have dominions over all kingdoms and nations. Strength and power are in our hands. You rest upon the cherubim and the seraphim constantly praise you, so what can man do against you? Incline your ear, O Lord; and hear, behold with Your eyes the intentions of our enemies. We believe that you alone are merciful and strong, and that you can deliver us from their hands.
“Give peace and tranquility to our God-loving people, and recompense us not for our sins. For we remember the words of our Savior, Your only begotten son and our Lord Jesus Christ, ‘All who take the sword, shall perish by the sword.’ Therefore, we do not rely on our weapons, but only on You, knowing Your power. You work miracles, from You comes victory and defeat. Grant our Ukraine a deep and immovable peace, protecting her from war and invasion of enemies, and giving her all that is good for the benefit of soul and body. For You are the God of mercy, the King of Peace and the savior of our souls, and we offer unto You glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.”
Dorothy Korol shared a pair of readings, the first on Black Ribbon Day, which takes place on Aug. 23 each year and marks the National Day of Remembrance for the victims of Communism and Nazism in Europe. “We pause to remember the millions of innocent victims of the Nazi German and Soviet Communist regimes. We condemn the horror that these regimes inflicted around the world. May the memory of the victims be eternal,” stated Alexandra Chyszij, National President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. “The evil doctrines of Nazi Germany and Soviet Communism, both of which targeted Ukraine and its people for conquest and annihilation, are being continued today by the Russian Federation which is engaged in genocidal war against Ukraine and its people. We must heed the lessons of history to ensure that the crimes of the past are not repeated by today’s tyrannical dictators.”
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The second reading came from Paul Grod, President, Ukrainian World Congress. “As the Ukrainian state celebrates the 32nd anniversary of the renewal of its independence, the people of Ukraine are courageously defending their families and fellow countrymen against Russia’s genocidal war,” said Grod. “Today the brave defenders of Ukraine are demonstrating to the entire world their dignity, bravery and iron will. Independence is our choice. The Ukrainian people will not live under the yolk of Russia’s tyranny and imperialism. We have chosen to live free and today are defending the entire world against Russia’s aggression.”
Canora-Pelly MLA Terry Dennis, Legislative Secretary for Ukraine Relations, thanked all those in attendance for coming out on such a special day. “We’re going through some tougher times with Putin’s war,” Dennis said, and emphasized that the Sask Party government continues to assist Ukrainians in any way possible. “We’ve welcomed over 4,500 Ukrainians into Saskatchewan since the beginning of the war. Approximately 14 per cent of our population is now Ukrainian.We need to continue to pray for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and that Ukraine will win this war.”
Ken Krawetz, former Canora-Pelly MLA, is the honourary consul for Ukraine in Saskatchewan. He described his responsibility as assisting Ukrainian people when they come to Saskatchewan. “It’s an honour to be here today on the anniversary of Ukrainian independence. It’s great to see the Ukrainian Canadian Congress involved in so many areas, and kudos to Canora for keeping that going locally.”
“One year ago today, the Russians decided to bomb a train dock, and 25 Ukrainians were killed. The war continues, but now there is a battle going on in Crimea between Ukrainian and Russian soldiers as part of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.It’s so nice to see that many groups founded in Saskatchewan are taking all kinds of important supplies and things to Ukraine.” Krawetz reminded everyone that the anniversary of Ukraine independence is observed all over the world, even though it’s difficult to celebrate in the midst of the war going on against Russia.