Side by Side

NOT ORDINARY: news that really means something  

                May 1, 2014




Photo below: Gairanitaya Shulika 

Cherkassy is not a big city, but it is the historical center of Ukraine. For a long time the region was the capital of the Cossacks. This year for our May Day celebration, almost 100,000 people gathered to participate in an event that symbolized the unity of the Ukrainian people. It was called “Side by Side”. It took place in the central square of our city and included famous Ukrainian singers and Olympics champions. It surprised me that so many young people wanted to take part and show their love for their country. They came from all 25 regions of Ukraine and brought a handful of soil with them. They put the soil in a clay pot—a special pot that is very Ukrainian and loved by our people.  A plaque in the shape of Ukraine was put on top and sealed shut. The whole day was a celebration of Ukrainian unity.  Anyone was free to come. 

Gairanitaya Shulika

     The main event was making a live Ukrainian flag using thousands of people. There were three groups of people: one group wore yellow shirts and caps.  The second group wore blue shirts and caps. These are the colors of our flag.  The third group were all the people who came to support the event. In the center of the flag, the people formed the shape of a heart. [You can see it in the photo.] The people all held hands and then they bent down and stood up 25 times to symbolize the 25 regions of our country and to make the heart look like it was beating and alive.  To see this really touched my heart. “Youth are our future” one famous singer said, “and they are showing us that we are one country. If they can come together we can’t be defeated!”  We all just want peace, love and understanding. —Alona and Drushka

     —Mother, Alona, and son, Drushka, and their family, speak Russian and Ukrainian fluently. Mother and son have been learning English for many years. We are grateful to them for writing about this special event.

The video here is special moments from the event. Translations from the video are below.

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     “We came together to show we are united.  There is power in unity.”

     “Ukraine is one country. You can’t separate a country. It’s like saying, who do you love more—your Father or Mother?”

     “How wonderful that people from all the regions and were willing to come here today and stand side by side!”  

     “If it was possible to collect people from all Ukraine here today, then you can do it too—and do it out of love, not because of politics.  Do it to show that the people are stronger than any party or any official.” 

     “It’s not important where you live. It’s important that I have love for you.”


 ©preInterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us: