Posted by: Anna Koshelokhova, Public Liaison Unit Assistant
This year, May 9, Ukraine celebrated the 66th anniversary of the holiday of both joy and sorrow – Victory Day. This day is devoted to the victory of the Allied Forces against Nazi Germany and the end of the World War II. Veterans gather together remembering those who perished. Every city has a special area called “The Eternal Flame,” where people gather to pay tribute to those who gave their lives during the WWII. In Kyiv this area is located near the famous WWII museum and the Motherland Monument.
Citizens of the United States have a similar federal holiday. The last Monday of May is devoted to Memorial Day. Originally established as Decoration Day and intended to honor soldiers who perished in the U.S. Civil War, it now commemorates all U.S. soldiers who died during military service. This year Memorial Day is observed on May 30.
Typical observance of Memorial Day is not limited to honoring only those Americans who served in the armed forces. It is also a day for personal remembrance. Families and individuals honor the memories of their loved ones who have died. Church services, visits to the cemetery, flowers on graves or even silent tribute mark the day with dignity and solemnity. It is a day of reflection.
We at the Embassy encourage Americans and Ukrainians alike to observe this day in a way that is meaningful to them and honors the sacrifices of those who have secured the freedoms we enjoy. Take time on Memorial Day to give thanks and gratitude to those who died for your freedom and ability to live life as you see fit. If you have relatives or friends who have given their lives in the service of their country, remember them and show your respect. Something as simple as placing some flowers on a soldier’s grave will ensure that you don’t forget what the day is all about.