Annual Memorial Day Commemoration At Ukrainian-American Veterans Monument
Річне Молитовне Поминання в День Пам’яті
Біля Національного Меморіалу Українських-Американських Ветеранів
Ukrainian-American Veterans from locations in the Mid-Atlantic states gathered together with dozens of supporters on Memorial Day – 31 May 2021 – to honor the memory of the hundreds, if not thousands, of American soldiers of Ukrainian descent who died during their military service throughout the history of the United States of America. Metropolitan Antony spoke prior to the Memorial Service stating that “The men and women we remember today are worthy of our prayers and the honor we exhibit for them this day. I watched the Memorial Day Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC this morning and I share President Joseph Biden’s statement concerning our nation’s heroes. He said ‘We honor these, the best of our dedicated men and women of our Armed Forces because they first honored our nation and they honored us as the beneficiaries of their sacrifice’”. His Eminence continued: “The majority the sacrifices of our heroes were realized in distant lands and under extremely hostile circumstances with the clear understanding that their battle far from their loved ones was necessary to ensure continued life, liberty and freedom for their children and grandchildren and for all of us who gather here today.”
Unfortunately, this important Memorial Day sometimes gets lost in the “unofficial beginning of summer long weekend” when barbecues and sunning at the beach seem to take preference over consideration of paying tribute to fallen heroes. The Metropolitan expressed his gratitude to the veterans present at the Memorial Service and the dozens of other patriotic individuals who made the right choice on this national holiday. Their prayers will be powerful before our Lord and the memory of the good and decent members of the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and the Coast Guard Branches of our USA Armed Forces will be eternal in God’s Heavenly Kingdom. The Metropolitan also added those who served in the various state National Guards, which all too often are called up to serve alongside the other Armed Forces during times of war.
Joining His Eminence for the Memorial Service were clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA: Very Rev. Fr. Yurij Siwko, Pastor of St. Andrew Memorial Church, South Bound Brook; Rev. Fr. Vasyl Pasakas, Pastor of Nativity of the Mother of God Parish, South Plainfield, NJ; Rev. Fr. James Cairns, Pastor of St. Demetrius Cathedral, Carteret, NJ and Rev. Fr. Sviatoslav Hot, Pastor of Holy Ascension Parish, Maplewood, NJ. The seminarian choir of St. Sophia Seminary sang responses for the service. Following the Memorial Service, Matthew Koziak, a veteran and chairman of the UAV Memorial Committee, spoke about the more than 200,000 Americans of Ukrainian descent who have served in the USA Armed Forces. “Most were born in the USA, but many were immigrants who came to the USA having experienced difficult lives in Ukraine in search of freedom and were determined to prevent America from falling into the control of the godless regimes that have destroyed millions of lives throughout the world. American soldiers of Ukrainian descent understood how important their service was.”
The UAV Monument had a new appearance for this year’s Memorial Day Commemoration. Metropolitan Antony gave a blessing for the installation paver stones leading from the Metropolitan Mstyslav Drive all the way up to and surrounding the monument itself. The work was completed just weeks earlier and will be further enhanced with landscaping and benches for people to sit as they ponder the sacrifice of brothers and sisters on duty and the thousands of veterans still living who have served our nation. The Monument was blessed and dedicated in October of 2015 to commemorate both the living and deceased Ukrainian American soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines with over 250 veterans and family members participating. It was a long-time dream of the Ukrainian American Veterans organization (UAV). Matthew Koziak urged all veterans of Ukrainian descent to join the UAV and called upon those present to encourage their family members to do so. He further urged family members of deceased veterans to register them with the UAV for historical purposes. Closing remarks were made by UAV National Commander, Anna Krawczuk, expressing gratitude to everyone present for their participation in honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice. The next service scheduled before the monument is for Veterans Day – 11 November to honor all living veterans and those who reposed through the years by natural death.