On October 14, Kharkivites celebrated Defender of Ukraine Day with a number of activities.
At the 18th cemetery on the Alley of Glory, 16 monuments to the Kharkiv combatants killed in 2018-2019 in Donbas, were unveiled.
“The new monuments have been in the making for three months. Five volunteers worked on them,” said the organizer of the memorial service, volunteer Maryna Polyakova.
“The layouts of the monuments were created and photographs were selected. We have worked in close contact with the relatives of the fallen fighters, they gave the last word. Relatives and friends of Ukrainian defenders who gave their lives in the east of the country as well as volunteers took part in the memorial service. The commemorative event was opened by a military brass band, singing the anthem of Ukraine, following by a military salute, a minute of silence and laying flowers on the graves of perished defenders of Ukraine,” informs Maryna.
Serviceman Valeriy came to the grave of his sworn brother Anton Bezverkhniy. Together they served in the Donbas battalion. A year ago, 25-year-old Anton was killed in the Donetsk region by a sniper bullet.
“He was an excellent fighter, a role model for many, regardless of age,” recalls Valeriy.
In total, 69 monuments have been installed to deceased Kharkiv combatants and volunteers.
At about 4 p.m., a march dedicated to Defender of Ukraine Day started in the city center. According to various sources, from 300 to 500 participants took part in the event. Activists of patriotic organizations and veterans of the ATO/JFO walked from Maidan Konstytutsii (Constitution Square) to the Shevchenko monument.
Participants carried national and red-black flags [Kh.O.: the flag of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army], as well as flags of organizations and parties whose representatives took part in the march.
Traditionally, the drummer led the column. This year, a musician with a Scottish bagpipe joined him.
Ukrainian patriots honored the memory of those killed in Donbas with a minute of silence.
“Plyve Kacha Po Tysyni” (The Duck Swims Down The Tissina) song was played. This old Ukrainian folk song has become a sort of anthem since the Revolution of Dignity.
The activists unfurled a 50-meter flag created from flags with the symbols of military units, social movements and volunteer organizations made by volunteers and fighters.
During the ceremony, 10 combatants and volunteers were awarded medals and honorary distinctions of the Union of ATO Veterans Kharkiv civil organization.
About 100 people laid flowers to the monument to Defenders of Ukraine.
“It was a tough time for us. This holiday gives us a feeling we are not forgotten,” said ATO veteran Ivan Fedorenko.
To commemorate the memory of legendary volunteer and servicewoman Yana Chervona, a plaque was unveiled on the school No 131 where she studied. Yana’s mother Tamara Symonenko initiated its creation.
On Defender Day, Kharkiv residents joined the Alley of Free People national action which was held in 30 Ukrainian cities and towns.
As part of the event, Kharkivites planted 15 cedars on the territory of the Kharkiv military hospital.
“For the combatants who are being treated or just visit it, this is sort of support. We appreciate their contribution. The state departed from Soviet traditions. The tree is a symbol of life. In my opinion, every year the attitude to our traditions and to the protection of our state changes,” Andriy Kasimov, the action’s participant, said.
On October 15, a wall of remembrance to the fighters killed in Donbas was opened and consecrated in the church of John the Theologian located at 105А Velyka Panasivska St. According to the designers, this place has become a home for many families who lost their loved ones at the front.
A trident braided with a crown of thorns is in the center of the memorial composition. Plates with the names of the perished combatants are on both sides. In total, 275 names are engraved on six memorial plaques.
About 60 people attended the commemorative event including fighters in the east, volunteers, relatives of deceased combatants and Kharkiv residents. Bishop Ioan honored the memory of the descended defenders of Ukraine with prayers.
Pokrova or the Intercession of the Theotokos celebrated on October 14, is a traditional religious holiday which was observed by Ukrainian Cossacks in the 17th and 18th centuries. That’s why the Day of Cossacks was introduced on Pokrova in 1999.
Defender of Ukraine Day is celebrated as a state holiday for the seventh time, and for the sixth year, it has been a day off.
Text: Natalia Ivanova
Photo: depo.ua, objectiv.tv, nakipelo.ua, Armia.Inform