Happy Independence Day, Ukraine!
Today, August 24, is Ukrainian Independence Day! This national holiday honors the indomitable spirit of the Ukrainian people and remembers all who’ve given their lives for their country — including those still fighting now. On this day in 1991, Ukraine gained its independence and joined the world stage as a sovereign nation. This year’s Independence Day holds particular significance as the country continues its struggle against the ongoing Russian invasion. Here is the true story of one family who just arrived in America on Sunday, and how they have been spending the past 546 days of the war.
Last School Bell in Ukraine has Rung
The Last Bell has been rung in Ukraine, and school is officially out for summer! That famous Alice Cooper song is not well known in the orphanage, but nonetheless, children all across the country of Ukraine, those that are now displaced in Europe and in the USA, and indeed those students who switched to online learning in the face of war, are celebrating that school is out for summer! Last week, our kids celebrated Last Bell, complete with 11th grade Graduation and our dedicated team made sure they had an audience! They brought flowers, chocolates, ice creams and most importantly themselves. I hated having to miss Last Bell and celebrating with the children and teachers. I traditionally give an end of year speech, and this year (as last year) Inna had to read my speech at the closing ceremony, in my stead. Here’s what I wrote, and here are some of the gorgeous photos taken that day…
Memorial Day is Everyday in Ukraine
Memorial Day is a day to remember and honor all military personnel who died in the service of our country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. This Monday, Americans all across our country will have the opportunity to do just that.
Meanwhile, just in the past year, Ukraine has suffered 124,500-131,000 total casualties, including 15,500-17,500 killed in action and 109,000-113,500 wounded in action, according to the document entitled "Russia/Ukraine - Assessed Combat Sustainability and Attrition." And not just on Monday, but on every day in Ukraine, people just like us remember and honor the loved ones who have died these past 457 days defending their country. With your help, Hope Now does whatever we can to help protect Ukrainian lives – civilians and soldiers alike.
Joy Comes in the Morning
Finally! After what seems like months, our volunteers were able to travel to visit the kids at the orphanage. Our dream team of Inna, Lena, Simon, and Ruslana bravely packed up “Franko” (our trusty Volkswagen van) with goodies and useful things and set out for the 50-mile journey to Shpola. Of course, it takes longer to get there during wartime, as there are various checkpoints to pass, and having to stop to seek shelter when the air raid sirens go off.