The following message from UNA President/CEO Stefan Kaczaraj appeared in the program book of the UNA’s 125th anniversary concert held on Saturday, November 2, at Dolan Performance Hall, The College of St. Elizabeth, Morristown, N.J.
With sincere gratitude to each member of our great organization, with utmost respect to our founding pioneers, and with sincere thanks to our current organizers, I can proclaim: We are witnesses to the incredible story that is the 125th anniversary of the Ukrainian National Association, the oldest and largest Ukrainian fraternal organization in North America.
The UNA’s development has been intertwined with decades of Ukrainian community life in North America, with a focus on three fundamental aspects.
The first of these aspects is the integration of Ukrainians into American society. The UNA helped the working man and woman who arrived this country, but it also had a role in promoting the talents of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Today we can proudly say that an astronaut, historians, mathematicians, scientists, linguists, singers, musicians and even Hollywood actors have Ukrainian surnames. Our forefathers arrived downtrodden and penniless, but with the fraternal assistance of the UNA, their progeny enriched their new homeland and continue to glorify “The Stars and Stripes.”
The second aspect deals with the human heart. In our 125-year history, the UNA has understood Ukraine’s circumstances and has never been indifferent to Ukraine’s needs and hopes. We love America because America is our home, and we love Ukraine because in our hearts we are Ukrainian. Thus, our anniversary also celebrates Ukraine, her aspirations and her future.
The third aspect is the professionalism that has led to the continued success of the UNA, and of our two newspapers, Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly. Thanks are due to our leaders and staff for their contributions to our fraternal organization’s strength.
And to you, dear members of the Ukrainian National Association, we pledge to remain a vital voice in our community and to accept and meet the new challenges of the future.