CHICAGO – The Ukrainian American community of the Chicago area on January 20 celebrated the 100th anniversary of the unification of Ukrainian lands on January 22, 1919, when the Ukrainian National Republic and the Western Ukrainian National Republic proclaimed one independent Ukrainian state.
The commemoration was organized by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America Illinois Division (UCCA Illinois) and gathered almost 300 members of the community.
Three members of Congress – Rep. Mike Quigley, who recently became a co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, Rep. Danny Davis, a long-time friend of the community, and Rep. Sean Casten, recently elected to Congress, were present. All three are Democrats who represent Illinois.
The event was also attended by Consul Ihor Bodnar of the Consulate of Ukraine; Vice-Consul Laura Stange of the Consulate of the Republic of Lithuania; Vice-Consul Piotr Semeniuk of the Consulate of the Republic of Poland, Gina Tunar of Chicagoland Qirim Tatar Organization; Manuel Venegas representing Maria Pappas, Cook County treasurer; Dan Patlak, commissioner, Cook County Board of Review; Saulius Kuprys, president of the Lithuanian American Council and the Joint Baltic American National Committee; Romuald Poplawski of the Polish Congress of America, Illinois Division; Csaba Zongor, president of the Polish-Hungarian World Federation; Henryk Marciniak, chairman of the Road to Peace Foundation; and Andriy Dobriansky, director of communications at the UCCA headquarters in New York.
The Rev. Ivan Lymar of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral delivered the opening prayer.
The annual awards for community service and dedication this year were presented to Olya Soroka, the Rev. Victor Poliarny, Dr. Vasyl Lonchyna and Dr. Roxolana Lonchyna, Yuriy Soroka and Walter Tun.
A special award was presented by the UCCA to Bohdan Watral, former president/CEO of Selfreliance Ukrainian American Federal Credit Union.
Marta Farion, emcee of the event, led the program with informative introductions of each guest and speaker. Excellent presentations were made by Glen Howard, president of the Jamestown Foundation, and Kateryna Smagliy of the McCain Institute.
The choir of Chicago’s Ukrainian American Youth Association closed the event with a medley of patriotic songs. The event was a major success in no small measure due to the efforts of many members of the UCCA board, and Motria Melnyk who created all the graphics.