NORTH PORT, Fla. – The Ukrainian American community of Southwest Florida, with its center in North Port, celebrated the 29th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence on Monday, August 24, at North Port City Hall.
The solemn occasion began with the raising of the American and Ukrainian flags by Ukrainian American Veterans of Post 40, while the attending community members sang the American and Ukrainian national anthems.
Debbie McDowell, mayor of North Port, read the proclamation that designated August 24, 2020, as Ukrainian Independence Day in the city. She stressed that Ukrainian people today are courageously fighting Russian aggression to protect their eastern borders, and work hard toward establishing Ukraine as a true democracy.
Daria Tomashosky, president of Ukrainian American Club of SW Florida, thanked the mayor and the commissioners of North Port for their enduring support. She expressed hope that next year, for the 30th anniversary, the Ukrainian community can have a more joyous celebration than this year (without the coronavirus).
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, it was not possible to have a real celebration of this joyful day with a reception at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center, as was done in the past. Even at the solemn raising of the flags at City Hall only leaders of Ukrainian American organizations attended because the total number could not exceed 15 persons and all had to wear masks.
Present at the posting of colors were Ihor Hron, Eugene Tomashosky, Col. Roman Rondiak, George Baranowsky, Marion Boysiuk, Mykola Kompaniec (Ukrainian American Veterans); Daria Tomashoska (Ukrainian American Club), Lesia Popel (Branch 56 of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America), Vira Bodnaruk (Ukrainian Language Society), Natalie Newmerzycky (St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center), Olia Babchuk (Ukrainian Village), Lieda Boyko (Ukrainian American Club), Bohdan Bodnaruk (Ukrainian Language Society), Slava Stefanyshyn (UNWLA Branch 56) and Alex Terlecky.