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Emotional testimony by members of N.H.’s Ukrainian community at Manchester ceremony

A photo of women in a line, some holding the Ukrainian flag. Each wear puffer coats, and one holds her hand over her heart.
Gaby Lozada
/
NHPR
A group of women from the Ukrainian community sings their national anthem.

Despite heavy snow, around 30 kids and adults gathered to sing the Ukrainian national anthem and pray.

Despite the heavy snow, around 30 kids and adults gathered to sing the Ukrainian national anthem and pray as Manchester mayor Joyce Craig observed a flag-raising ceremony with members of New Hampshire’s Ukrainian community on Tuesday.

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Members of the Ukrainian community honored their flag and their country with emotional speeches while the mayor announced City Hall will be illuminated in blue and yellow, the colors of that country, to join a worldwide display of solidarity.

Stanislav Trifonor talked about his family in Ukraine. During the last two weeks, Trifonor said they’ve been worried because they do not know when they’ll have to abandon their home. For him, raising the flag in the city where he is a resident shows a lot of support.

Juliya Biley, born in that country, brought a big Ukrainian flag with her to the ceremony. She said she could only compare this war to 9/11. She has not been able to sleep and is always on her phone to hear the latest news.

She’s checked it so frequently “to see who's still alive," she said. "It's very difficult.”

Letters from Democratic Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan were read at the event. Both leaders said the United States is doing what it can to preserve Ukraine’s independence.

"Putin instigated a war so he can fulfill his fantasy of rebuilding a Russian empire. Our response must make it perfectly clear [...] that they cannot rewrite history and that we fiercely and unequivocally stand with the people of Ukraine in their fight for freedom," read Shaheen's letter.

The community leaders also collected money that will be sent to the people displaced by the war. The Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church is currently accepting donations to send to Ukraine.

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