Holodomor Commemoration

Posted by: James Wolfe, Press Attaché

As Ukrainians prepare to commemorate the day of remembrance of the Holodomor on Saturday November 27, it seems appropriate to reflect on how the Ukrainian diaspora in the United States of America and other Americans have paid tribute to the victims of this tragic period in Ukraine’s history. The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America held its annual ecumenical prayer service at New York City’s Saint Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, which reportedly was heavily attended. The White House released a statement through National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer to coincide with the New York ceremony, which reads in part:

Americans join with the Ukrainian people and ethnic Ukrainians around the world in remembering all those who died so senselessly.  We therefore also pay tribute to the strength and resilience of the Ukrainian people who endured unspeakable hardship and ultimately emerged stronger.  Today, Ukraine is a proud and independent nation, and the United States is grateful for the friendship between our peoples and the partnership between our nations   As free peoples, we are united not only in our remembrance of those lost in the Holodomor, but in our shared determination to prevent such inhumanity from ever happening again. 

Secretary Clinton at Holodomor Memorial in Kyiv

During this past week, in Washington, DC, Ukrainian Americans also met with His Holiness Filaret, Patriarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate – who was visiting Ukrainian churches throughout the United States. They gathered around the future site of the Holodomor Memorial, on land donated by the U.S. government. The site is five blocks north of the U.S. Capitol building, where on November 23, Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois gave a speech remembering the millions of victims of the Holodomor and commended the work of the Ukrainian Genocide Famine Foundation USA and the Ukrainian National Museum in Chicago in ensuring that the victims of the Holodomor of 1932-33 are never forgotten.  One month ago, Chicago hosted the Chicagoland Ukrainian Genocide Remembrance Day 2010 on September 19th at St. Joseph the Betrothed Ukrainian Catholic Church.

References to Holodomor commemorations in the United States can be found going back at least three decades, showing that Ukrainian Americans and those horrified by this man-made tragedy have long honored the memory of the many who perished.  During her July visit to Kyiv, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton chose to pay tribute at the Holodomor Memorial here.  Those of us privileged to live and work in Ukraine continue to stand by our Ukrainian friends and share in your mourning this weekend.

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