It seems safe to say that August 24, Ukraine's Independence Day will always be an actual date for many common Ukrainians. With 28 years of independence behind it, this country has a lot to be proud of, and a lot to mourn for. In the view of the major national holiday in Ukraine, let's remember what it started with - and see how different things are this particular year.
Independent Ukraine begins
In July 1990, the Parliament of the-then Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic approved the Declaration of the State Sovereignty of Ukraine. The Ukrainian national flag was hoisted over the Parliament's building in Kyiv on that day. So, the Independence Day was supposed to be marked annually on July 16, the day when the declaration was passed.
In March 1991, the All-Union referendum to save the Soviet Union took place. Over 80 percent of Ukrainians agreed that the country should remain in the Union, enjoying the rights defined by the Declaration of Independence.
In August 24, 1991, the Paliament passed the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine. The country was officially proclaimed an independent democratic state. "Since the moment of declaration of independence, the only documents acting on the terriroty of Ukraine is the Constitution, the laws, government decrees and other legislative acts of the Republic", the Act said.
A referendum on the Act of Declaration of Independence was held in Ukraine on 1 December 1991. An overwhelming majority of 92.3% of voters approved the Act of declaration of independence. In June 1992, the Parliament voted for the amendment in the legislative framework, according to which July 16 was officially replaced by August 24 as Ukraine's Independence Day. So, since 1992, the holiday has been celebrated annually on August 24.
The main events on the official level take place in Kyiv. President of Ukraine gives a solemn audience on this occasion; leaders of the state lay flowers to the monuments of famous Ukrainians and join the prayer for Ukraine that is traditionally served at St.Sophia's Church in Kyiv, with members of all Christian confessions present at the ceremony.
This year's ceremonial events will start at 9.30 a.m., including a nation-wide minute of silence at the memorial Cross of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes in Kyiv, with a church bell ringing 100 times. The national flag will be hoisted, and the military choir will perform the national anthem. Such events will be taking place in the capital city and other cities of Ukraine.
An awards ceremony will take place at 9.50 a.m., paying tribute to prominent Ukrainians.
A flower exhibition dedicated to great Ukrainian athletes will open at Spivoche Pole in Kyiv. Rusanivska beach will host a Vyshyvanka Run, with runners wearing Ukrainian national embroidered shirts.
The car traffic in Kyiv is limited due to the ongoing mass events.
Over the past few years, military parade on Independene Day was a good custom in Ukraine. Last year's event even included a brief but heartly performance from the pilots of Ukraine's combat aviation. The military parade became a part of life in the country that is currently at war.
However, this year, President Volodymyr Zelensky decided that in 2019, there will be no military parade with the vehicles on Kyiv's main street. Instead, the head of the state ordered to assign money from teh state budget and award the military with money prizes; contract servicemen will get 80 dollars each, while conscripts and cadets will get USD 40 each.
The Office of the President also organized the Procession of Dignity, which involves veterans of Donbas conflict, medics, teachers, thletes, diplomats and volunteers. President Zelensky himself will join the event; after the official part is over, the state leader will address the Ukrainian nation.
Last but not least, the March of Defenders of Ukraine is to take place in Kyiv. The event, which also incorporates many combat veterans, families of the fallen warriors and civilians who come to express their gratitude is to begin 11 a.m. Kyiv time.