Photo report by Nadiya Shaporynska
On November 7, 2015, several thousand Ukrainian-Americans, Ukrainians, and supporters of Ukraine attended the Opening Ceremony of the Holodomor Memorial, dedicated to the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide of 1932-1933, near Union Station in Washington, D.C. The US Ukrainian community included participants from all regions of the country, traveling from such states as Arizona, California, Washington, Oregon, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida and others.
The Holodomor Memorial honors the memory of the Ukrainian victims of the genocidal famine of 1932-1933, which took place in Ukraine under the Soviet Union’s rule of Joseph Stalin. Holodomor (which means “death by hunger” in the Ukrainian language) was conceived and executed by Stalin and his collaborators aimed at the destruction of the Ukrainian people, who sought independence from the Soviet Union and resisted the communist regime. Demographic records of the Holodomor era were suppressed when Ukraine was under Soviet control, nevertheless, historians estimate the range of deaths from 7 to 10 million.
“US Ukrainian Activists” (“US UA”) attended the opening of the Holodomor Memorial Ceremony together with ATO Ukrainian soldiers Alexandr Kosolapov, Vadim Sviridenko, Vadim Maznichenko, and Colonel Ihor Hordiychuk and his wife Tetiana.
These Ukrainian wounded warriors are currently undergoing medical therapy and rehabilitation at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. US UA volunteers, the soldier’s Ukrainian volunteer translators Svitlana, Anton and Anna, as well as the staff of the Embassy of Ukraine facilitated the Ukrainian warriors’ participation at this important and memorable event.
During the Dedication Ceremony, when our wounded warriors were introduced to the audience, the crowd warmly applauded and expressed gratitude for their bravery and sacrifice with a very prolonged standing ovation, and repeated chants of Heroyam Slava.
At the beginning of the Holodomor Memorial Dedication Ceremony, the American and Ukrainian Anthems were sung by the Ukrainian Americans, Ukrainians, and Ukrainian supporters.
During this two-and-a-half-hour ceremony, prominent American and Ukrainian government officials delivered speeches and statements referencing the historical perspective and symbolism of the opening of the Holodomor Memorial.
Ukraine's first lady, Maryna Poroshenko, also attended the Opening Ceremony of the Holodomor Memorial.
In a video message, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the opening of the Holodomor Memorial a historic event, which is “true evidence of victory of truth over lies, good over evil.”
In his video address, Petro Poroshenko stated:"The Memorial in Washington is being opened when Ukraine is defending its independence, overcoming obstacles and rebuffing the aggression of Russia. Again, as in times of Holodomor, the Kremlin is trying to wipe Ukraine off the map [because of the Russian military aggression in Eastern Ukraine since the spring of 2014]”;“The [Russian] empire tried to ruin the very foundations of a freedom-loving nation, undermine our spiritual culture and ethnic identity, but I am deeply convinced that just as 80 years ago, any Moscow's power is unable to put Ukrainians down on their knees and force them abandon the idea of Freedom, Independence, Dignity, and Unity”; "They [the Soviet Union and Russia] tried to keep the Holodomor a secret; they tried to wipe out even the smallest parts of memory of it, but they failed! At the beginning of the 1980’s, thousands of Americans of Ukrainian origin united to tell the truth about the Holodomor”; “Parliaments of many countries, including the US Congress, recognized this crime as a genocide, and in 2006, it was also acknowledged as a genocide by the Verkhovna Rada [of Ukraine].”
The Ukrainian President also emphasized that, the Holodomor Memorial is being opened in Washington, D.C. in order to become further evidence of the fact that the Ukrainian nation “cannot be overcome by any troubles, any malicious intentions of foes because the Ukrainians strive for Truth, Freedom, Democracy, and Peace on their land and in their country.”
The monument was blessed together by the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyivan Patriarchate, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, and the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church.
At the end of the Dedication Ceremony, Ukraine's first lady Maryna Poroshenko greeted ATO Ukrainian Warriors Colonel Ihor Hordiychuk, Alexandr Kosolapov, Vadim Maznichenko, and Vadim Sviridenko.
The Ukrainian Diaspora and Ukrainian Supporters greeted the Ukrainian Soldiers after the Dedication Ceremony.
The Holodomor Memorial was authorized by the US Congress in 2006 and funded by private donations. It was designed by Ukrainian American architect Larysa Kurylas.
US UA Activists had a chance to thank Larysa Kurylas at the Holodomor Memorial.
The Holodomor Memorial is an important means for the Ukrainian and American people to honor the millions of victims of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide of 1932-1933 and to reveal this genocidal crime, aimed at the core of the Ukrainian nation and committed by the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin’s regime.