Poignant Ukrainian Independence Day celebrated in Rugby
and live on Freeview channel 276
Rugby’s Ukrainian community, along with friends and supporters, gathered at the clock tower to form a human chain on Thursday night.
They were there to participate in a world-wide demonstration in support of freedom for all people.
But they were also there to take part in celebrations that marked Ukraine Independence Day, an event that recognises a day in 1991 when Ukraine finally shook off the shackles of Russian imperialism.
Many of the people who turned up were wrapped in blue and yellow flags or wore blue and yellow clothing.
The women and girls looked striking in their traditional vishyvanka, dresses, adorned with intricate Ukrainian embroidery. Together, they held hands to form a circle of unity and they sang - to the glory and freedom of Ukraine, the Ukrainian national anthem.
Some standing stiffly to attention; heads held high. Some stood alone with their thoughts, and some bowed their heads and wiped away tears.
A moment of unplanned silence followed.
Kathryn Lawrence, President of Rotary Rugby, and Dunsmore Club, pointed to the comments made by John Hewko, General Secretary of Rotary International, who wrote in the recent edition of Rotary: “It is David and Goliath. But the Ukrainians have shown their bravery to hold off the second largest army in the world.”
Anna Nepip-Frankis, Chair of the Rugby branch of the Association of Ukrainians said: “We are here to celebrate Independence Day; it’s an important event in the life of all Ukrainians. But we are also here to express our sorrow for the loss of life and suffering of the Ukrainian soldiers and civilians.
“Daily, while their cities and towns are being attacked, we witness the tenacity and courage of the Ukrainian people in their determination to maintain their freedom.”
The courage and community involvement of Rugby’s Ukrainians has already been recognised by BBC CWR who have shortlisted them for an award in their Make a Difference campaign. The award ceremony will take place on September 17 at HMV Empire in Coventry.