BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – The Ukrainian community of Binghamton, N.Y., held “Stand with Ukraine” events on March 4-6 that included a flag raising ceremony, representation at the local St. Patrick’s Day parade, as well as a rally at Binghamton City Hall.
The events were coordinated by the local branch of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), in conjunction with the local Ukrainian Orthodox, Ukrainian Catholic and Ukrainian Pentecostal churches.
On March 4 at 11:30 a.m., a special photo opportunity event was held with Binghamton Mayor Jared M. Kraham during a Ukrainian flag raising ceremony to kick off the three-day schedule. At this event, participants recited the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, and the mayor with children in traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirts raised the Ukrainian flag during the singing of the Ukrainian national anthem.
Mr. Kraham, who previously served as assist mayor, reaffirmed his support for Ukraine. He said he was familiar with Lubomyr Zobniw, chairman of the Binghamton branch of UCCA, and he quoted Maria Koropey Zobniw’s previously-stated belief that “Ukrainian history teaches us that national independence is precious and hard earned, and that we should share our Ukrainian heritage within our local community.”
Members of the Ukrainian community in Binghamton joined the local St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 5, with Olenka and Sofia Czabala carrying the “Stand with Ukraine” banner in the lead. They were followed by individuals carrying Ukrainian flags, signs and other participants who were dressed in traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirts. The large Irish audience along the path greeted Ukrainian participants with applause, thrown kisses and vocal greetings.
A “Stand with Ukraine” rally at Binghamton City Hall was held on March 6 at 1 p.m. Mr. Zobniw introduced Stephan Wasylko, who served as an emcee of the event.
“Our goal today is to demonstrate that we, as a civilized people in the year 2022, stand together for peace, human rights and an end to the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and a free and democratic nation,” Mr. Wasylko said. “[It is] a beautiful nation, rich in history, culture and traditions, which has been denied its very right to exist by an evil, barbaric tyrant named Vladimir Putin.”
At the podium, Father Teodor Czabala of Sacred Heart Ukrainian Catholic Church gave the blessing.
Talented singers Eugene Czebiniak, as well as Stefan and Victor Czumak, sang “Prayer for Ukraine” in Ukrainian. Olenka Czabala share the words of “Prayer for Ukraine” in English.
Since the 1950s, the local UCCA branch in Binghamton, N.Y., has coordinated with Binghamton City Hall and the press on behalf of Ukrainian Americans to commemorate, celebrate and hold “Stand with Ukraine” events.
The three Ukrainian churches: Ukrainian Catholic, Ukrainian Orthodox and Ukrainian Pentecostal churches in Binghamton, N.Y., are hubs of the Ukrainian American community.
Robert Watson designed the large banner with “Stand with Ukraine” text overlaid over a map of Ukraine and the Ukrainian trident.
The Ukrainian community is grateful to all for preparing signs and for placing Ukrainian flags on poles for the events.
Mr. Wasylko, who served at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, and Mr. Zobniw were interviewed by members of the local press and televisions stations about the war in Ukraine.
The Binghamton American Civic Association displayed a large, highlighted “Stand with Ukraine” banner and spread the word through its Facebook page.
Additional support came from the Binghamton Center Sport Complex that was lit up in blue and yellow and flags at the town of Dickinson were all set at half-mast.
Greetings were received from Mr. Kraham, Broome County Executive Jason Garnar, New York State Legislator Donna Lupardo, U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney’s Regional Outreach Director Edward Hickey, Dickenson Town Supervisor Michael Marinaccio, Broome County District Attorney Mike Korchak, District 12 County Legislator Karen Beebe, City Councilor Sophia Resciniti and Johnson City Mayor Martin Meaney.
Father Ivan Synevskyy of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Orthodox Church shared the Prayer for Peace in Ukraine with all.
The musical segment was performed by Taras Boyko, Irina Makosiy, Anna Petchenyi, Nadya Petchenyi, Emily Pradun, Leo Pradun and Katerina Yurkiv. They performed a collection of instrumentals pieces and sang “Melodia” by Myorslav Skoryk, “Ya pidu daleki hory” and “Obiymy mene” by Volodymyr Ivasiuk.