Ukraine has been celebrating the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation annually since 2015. A memorable date always falls on May 8 - the anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945. The purpose of the celebrations is “a respectable celebration of the heroic act of the Ukrainian people, their contribution to the victory of the anti-Hitler coalition in World War II and honoring all those who fought against Nazism.”
On May 8, 1945, the Anti-Hitler Coalition officially adopted the Act of Unconditional Surrender of Nazi Germany. It was signed on May 7 in French Reims, but entered into force the next day in Berlin. On this occasion, on May 8, 1945, large-scale celebrations were held in many cities of Europe and the United States.
Resolution of the UN General Assembly of November 22, 2004, dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, UN member states were invited in addition to their Victory or Liberation Days to mark annually one or two days as a tribute to all victims Second World War. As a result, the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation is celebrated in the world on May 8-9.
Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation in Ukraine
From 1945 to 2013, Ukrainian SSR, and then in independent Ukraine celebrated the end of World War II in Europe on May 9. On this day, traditionally military parades were held, people laid flowers at the graves of deceased soldiers and congratulated veterans.
In 2014, for the first time in the history of Ukraine, official events on the occasion of the victory over Nazism took place for two days - on May 8 and 9. It was planned that from then on Ukraine together with Europe and the world would mark the Memorial Day on May 8 and it will continue traditionally on May 9.
On April 9, 2015, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine established May 8 as the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation in honor of all victims of the Second World War, and it is celebrated for one day. Moreover, in Ukraine, May 8 is not a public holiday, but May 9 (Victory Day in many countries of the former Soviet Union) is a day off.
Since 2014, the red poppy has become the symbol of the Day of Reconciliation and Victory Day in Ukraine. It is an international symbol of the memory of victims of all military and civil armed conflicts.
The Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance appealed to Ukrainians asking to attach red poppy to the clothes on May 8. The graphic image is a kind of allusion: on the one hand, it represents a poppy flower, on the other - a trail of blood from the bullet. It is recommended to make stylized red poppies from paper or fabric and place them on clothes on the left side of the chest, closer to the heart.
Instead of a conclusion
Ukraine has made a significant contribution to the victory over Nazism and the allies of Germany. The price of this was the huge losses among Ukrainians and citizens of Ukraine of other nationalities during the years 1939-1945. The most difficult are demographic losses; they are estimated at 8-10 million people.
The Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance believes that the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation and Victory Day do not symbolize the triumph of the winners over the defeated, but should be a reminder of the terrible disaster and a warning that difficult international problems cannot be resolved by armed means, ultimatums and aggression.