The Eleventh Minute After the Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month – Armistice Day – the Precise Moment Ending World War I – Veterans Day
Українські-Американські Ветерани Вшановані в Духовному Осередку Церкви в День Ветерана США
Honoring Ukrainian American Veterans and all other Veterans who served in the United States of America Armed Forces over the last one hundred years.
The National Monument to Ukrainian American Veterans who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States, after thirteen years of planning, was installed and blessed by their Eminences Metropolitan Antony and Archbishop Daniel of the UOC of USA and Metropolitan Stefan Soroka, UCC of the USA on the grounds of St. Andrew Memorial Church and Cemetery at our Metropolia Center on 3 October 2015. Memorial services for those who perished in service during wartime deployment, Moleben Services for the health of all living veterans and Memorial services for all who served, whether or not during deployment are conducted each year. This year’s Veterans Day services were conducted at precisely the date and minute described in the headline above.
Ukrainian American Veterans who were able to, gathered before the Memorial Church with the Ukrainian and American flags to march in procession, leading His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, clergy, seminarians and those people who attended to the impressive monument, which commemorates veterans from all five branches of the United States Armed Forces: the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Air Force and the Coast Guard. In the presence of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, the Archbishop offered reflection before the Moleben. He spoke of the “absolute necessity of remembering all the living and deceased Armed Forces members frequently so as to remind ourselves – all Americans – that freedom is not free. It is not a “given” in world history, but one that must be won, treasured and protected unto eternity in the face of never-ending threats to it.”
The Archbishop quoted the words of one of the USA’s most important wartime Generals – Douglas MacArthur from a speech he delivered to the Army Cadets at the West Point Military Academy as he was honored with the Thayer Award, during his last visit to the Adademy: “Duty, Honor, Country: These three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.” The Archbishop stressed that these three words – Duty, Honor and Country – are the foundation upon which all soldiers, sailors, marines or air corpsmen stand as they voluntarily enter into the service of our United States of America. The selflessness of those who have served, those who were lost, those who returned after military service to rebuild our nation after every war is profound. We owe our very lives and gratitude to them
The Veterans stood before the National UAV Monument at attention as the Moleben prayer service was offered. Serving with the Archbishop were Rev. Fathers Yurij Siwko, Vasyl Pasakas, Vasyl Shak, Mykola Zomchak, Andrij Drapak and Deacon Serhij Khomitsky. St. Sophia Seminary students sang the responses. A resounding “Mnohaya Lita” honored all the living Ukrainian American and other USA veterans. A solemn “Vichn Pamyat’” besought the Memory Eternal in God’s Heavenly Kingdom for all those reposed veterans, wherever they may be interred.
At the close of the services, UAV NJ State Commander Michael Hrycak expressed the gratitude of all Ukrainian American Veterans to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA for the very existence of the National Monument. He stated that his appreciation for what USA Armed Forces veterans have accomplished throughout world history has become ever more clear to him, especially after his recent participation in a Military Conference in Kyiv Ukraine. He was proud to announce that a retired Ukrainian American General was recruited to conduct the training of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in recent years since the Russian invasion of the nation. Those forces have abandoned the traditional “soviet” training methods and have made the Ukrainian forces defending the nation in the Eastern provinces very effective in comparison to the initial stages of the invasion.
Following these remarks, Archbishop Daniel, Commander Hrycak and Matthew Koziak (long-time chair of the UAV Monument Committee) placed a floral wreath before the Monument. His Eminence Metropolitan Antony closed the program with words of encouragement to those who have struggled all these years to make the UAV Monument a reality. He spoke of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) throughout the country that have had to close over recent years due to the pandemic and just plain attrition in membership. He urged the veterans to persevere in their efforts to recruit new young veterans into the organization. “All too often the veterans of recent wars our nation was involved in were not welcomed home with the open arms that embraced the returning veterans of World Wars I and II, because these wars were very divisive amongst the public. We must change that attitude and find was to express our gratitude to all veterans without regard to when or where they served.”
DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY and we would add FAITH! We all would do well to build our service to nation and fellow man on these foundational words, concepts and hopes. God bless our Veterans, both living and deceased and God bless our United States of America with the eradication of divisiveness and the return to unity of purpose in preserving democracy – freedom – for all.