KIEV, Ukraine, Aug. 24 (Jared M. Feldshreiber) — Thousands of servicemen marched in downtown Kiev in a parade Monday to mark the 24th anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence Day. The celebrations to mark Ukraine’s Independence were held around the world, from Kiev to New York City to Horsham, Pennsylvania.
“We will be celebrating independence, and we are going to set up our Ukrainian fireworks, which are dancing, music and song,” Gene Luciew, the event organizer in Horsham told The Intelligencer.
“As Americans, we all should remember there is a price to pay for freedom, and Ukraine is an example where that price is immediately being paid in terms of the [6,800] lives lost, 15,000 very serious, debilitating injuries and 1.7 million people from their homes,” Luciew added.
The Ukraine independence day is a main state holiday in modern Ukraine, and is commemoration of the Declaration of Independence that was enacted on August 24, 1991. Beginning in 2004, August 23 is celebrated as the Day of the National Flag.
“Independence Day is linked to the idea of Ukraine: the idea of a free people running their own state after centuries of occupation and oppression by foreign empires,” theUkrainian Congress Committee of America released in a statement. “Ukraine’s national anthem exemplifies this yearning for freedom, openly challenging our persecutors for over 151 years. This idea is what unites Ukrainians around the world, what endears them to their American and other Western partners, that freedom and democracy is a human right worth fighting for.”
The U.S. State Department offered its congratulations to the Ukrainian people in honor of the anniversary of its independence.
“The United States has been a steadfast partner and friend of Ukraine since your Parliament approved the Act of Independence on this date in 1991. For two dozen years, we have supported the efforts of your citizens to build a strong, stable, and democratic country. Despite huge challenges, you have made remarkable strides toward this goal. You have stood up to a despotic regime, a corrupt bureaucracy, and an aggressive neighbor—all in the name of a free, democratic, and prosperous future,”read a statement released Friday.