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Memory Alley dedicated to fallen defenders of Ukraine opened in Drohobych

This year’s first day of spring in Drohobych will be remembered as a symbol of memory and unbreakable strength. The Memory Alley, which was opened and consecrated yesterday, 1 March, in Stepan Bandera Park, has become such a symbolic and at the same time mournful place. It commemorates the feat of the newest Heroes – natives of the Drohobych community who died defending Ukraine from the enemy.

Servicemen, veterans, clergy, community leaders, relatives and friends of the fallen Heroes, Drohobych residents and guests of the city gathered here to pay tribute to those who are no longer with us. Those who laid their lives on the altar of our freedom.

The opening of the Memory Alley began with the national anthem performed by a military band and a minute of silence.

A minute of silence is the same as a silent prayer in memory of the fallen Heroes. Therefore, every day at 9.00 a.m., stop wherever you are! Refrain from speaking and pay tribute to all Ukrainians whose lives were taken by the war,” reminded the audience the host Ulyana Voyat.

After a minute of mourning, a joint prayer began, accompanied by the clergy. It was led by Bishop Gregory (Komar).

“Probably none of us wanted such an Alley to appear in our city. No one wanted so many people to be depicted here who died in the war unleashed in our country by the Moscow invaders. These are not the heroes we read about in books. These are people we knew – someone’s sons, husbands, fathers, brothers. They died for Ukraine, and we must all remember and honour them with dignity – through daily work and sincere prayer,” said Bishop Hryhoriy (Komar).

After the consecration of the Alley, the author of the idea and designer of the project, artist Khrystyna Solomchak, whose two dearest people – her beloved husband and brother – were taken away by the war, spoke to the audience.

This place should be symbolic. Every day it should remind us all of the heroic deeds of our heroes. About the price of our freedom. And the price the soldiers there pay for our peaceful mornings and quiet nights. I thank everyone who contributed to the establishment of this Alley in one way or another and I thank the community leadership for believing and entrusting me with this special project,” said Khrystyna Solomchak.

The strong and majestic 42-metre-high Arch symbolises the invincibility of every soldier who did not surrender, did not give up, but defended his native land until his last breath. The entire metal structure was made by Leonid Fedevych, a veteran of the Russian-Ukrainian war, together with his sons, at his own forge.

The question of the beginning of the war is controversial for many Ukrainians. For some, the war began two years ago, for others – ten years ago, since the Revolution of Dignity, for others – many centuries ago. This is our eternal enemy, which can only be stopped by such Heroes, true patriots. They loved their country above all else, they gave their lives for it, so they deserve the highest respect. When I saw the draft design of the Alley, I realised that my forge had never made such a grandiose and large structure. But, – the eyes are afraid, but the hands will do everything. I am grateful to everyone who supported and contributed financially. Because there is not a single penny of budget funds here. And thank you for entrusting me with this project,” said war veteran Leonid Fedevych.

The project involved many people who donated funds for the construction of the Alley. The works were financed through the Vesely Family Foundation. The paving and landscaping works were carried out by SMU.

The metal structure of the Alley features photographs of the fallen Heroes from the Drohobych community and the symbols of the military units in which they defended Ukraine. The QR code on each photo reveals more detailed information about each fallen Hero collected on the Electronic Pantheon of Heroes.

The design is decorated with embroidered metal ornaments that will glow in the dark and white birds that symbolise the souls of the fallen soldiers.

During the opening of the Alley, several symbolic songs were performed: “Cranes” by Zoya Zhuravka performed by Vasylina Kovalchuk, “In a clear field…” by the military band A1108 (soloist Olena Shchepanska, conductor Bohdan Ulyanovsky) and “Heroes do not die” by the duet of Marian Khariv and Lilia Shchur of the Kamenyar Drohobych Centre for Culture and Arts.

An honorary military guard was kept throughout the event. At the end of the event, flowers were laid at the Alley of Memory of the Fallen Heroes.

We do not know for sure what the last minutes of their lives were like. But we know that they left this life as Heroes. It is very difficult for mothers to lose their sons, but today, more than ever, we must remain strong. Because the war continues. And our sons would definitely not want us to drown in grief…” said Ivanna Shevchenko, the mother of the fallen soldier Oleh Voitovych, in her speech.

At the end of the event, all those present had the opportunity to walk along the memorial alley, a place of quiet pain and sadness, a place of pride, a place where the heart sinks and the eyes involuntarily fill with tears.

They died for Ukraine. They died so that we could live. Therefore, we must continue their struggle for the sake of the future Victory and remember and honour everyone who is no longer with us with daily prayer…


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