Dedication of the National Holodomor Monument
The following account of the Dedication of the Holodomor Monument was written by Tanya Lisnyczyj-Petroff of New York, who so eloquently describes the emotions and feelings of our community on that overcast, drizzly day, so appropriate to this somber occasion. For the TUCA members attending the dedication, emotional is the word everyone used to describe their participation. Olena Boyko TUCA President
Dedication of The National Holodomor Monument, November 7, 2015 in Washington, DC
The Ukrainian-American community experienced a very special and emotional weekend of November 6-8 in Washington, DC, as we gathered for the unveiling and blessing of The Ukrainian Holodomor (death by hunger) Genocide Memorial in memory of the ~10 million Ukrainians that perished in 1932-1933 from starvation by Stalin and his Russian regime.
Many buses traveled to Washington, DC to join with several thousands of Ukrainians from all over North America to witness an important part of Ukrainian history that was long hidden from the world. The beautiful bronze Holodomor monument, designed by Larysa Kurylas, depicts a field of wheat that both projects and recedes across the monument’s 30-foot-long bronze wall, representing the transition from harvest bounty to famine deficit.
The dedication ceremony took place at Columbus Circle, where several thousands of Ukrainians dressed beautifully in Ukrainian embroidery and costumes gathered outside in the light rain, proudly waving Ukrainian flags while listening to speeches from several government officials, Holodomor survivors, Ukraine's First Lady - Maryna Poroshenko, and a video message from Ukraine's President, Petro Poroshenko. An emotional memorial service and an official blessing of the monument, led by the Patriarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic Churches of the USA and of Ukraine, followed the dedication ceremony.
As the sun started to set, the thousands of Ukrainians present marched from Columbus Circle to the White House, a sea of blue and yellow flags peacefully walked through the streets that were closed off to traffic for this momentous event. Marchers sang the Ukrainian National Anthem, religious hymns, as well as Ukrainian patriotic songs once arrived at the White House. In addition to the official dedication and blessing, the weekend was filled with several other commemorative events, including a concert titled "An Artistic Tribute", which featured several incredibly talented Ukrainian musicians and dancers that left the audience without a dry eye in the auditorium. The most emotional part of the entire weekend for me was at the concert when the wounded Ukrainian soldiers with missing limbs stood while The Ukrainian Bandura Chorus, Dumka Chorus and other performers angelically sang "Боже Великий Єдиний".
Those who were present feel so blessed to have been part of such an historic event in Ukrainian history. Holodomor survivors vividly recalled horrific memories of witnessing people dying in front of them, of seeing the tears and the pain in their eyes when they retold their stories. This past weekend's events were very emotional for many, but we are also very proud of the dedication of this monument, as its recognition means so much to Ukraine and its history, especially to teach our children about this important part of Ukrainian history that shall never be forgotten.
Thank you to the U.S Committee for the Ukrainian Holodomor, under the leadership of the Ukrainian Congressional Committee of America, for organizing such an amazing event, a defining moment in the history of Ukrainians in the United States.