There are two pretty interesting holidays in the United States: Memorial Day and Veterans Day. On the former, all veterans of all wars in which Americans participated are remembered. Veterans Day honors all living combatants who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
The problem of Ukraine is that it cannot get rid of the Soviet principle of giving the highest respect to participants of only one conflict with officials seeking to legitimatize its rule through death and blood of people. Ukrainian combatants of World War II, whether the ones in the Soviet Army or the Ukrainian Insurgent Army have turned into a means of political games from the subject of memory. People became arguments in debates, our dead and alive brothers and sisters became a tool in the hands of unworthy individuals.
Why are participants of the First World War, the National Liberation struggle, the soldiers of the Carpathian Sich forgotten? Why do veterans of the war in Afghanistan only meet in small groups occasionally? Who remembers the Ukrainian servicemen and volunteers of other wars – from Vietnam to Balkans to the North Caucasus?
We have our own “Veterans Day” – it is the Day of Heroes, observed on May 23 in honor of Yevhen Konovalets’ death from the bomb explosion in Rotterdam in 1938. On this day we should remember all prominent leaders, ideologues, commanders, and those ordinary Ukrainians, who, through blood of their own, proved that we can fight, know the value of heroism and principles of non-surrender.
We live in difficult times, which in the future will not get any easier. We are at the threshold of great changes that are giving us new heroes and freedom fighters, who will then be remembered on this day by Ukrainians across the world. Where Ukrainian blood was shed, there are Ukrainian heroes. Lest we forget them.
Ukraine is not only a country, but Ukrainians of the world.
We remember the best of us.