What Ukraine Means to Me

Just a few years ago, before Donald Trump asked Ukrainian President Zelenskyy for an infamous favor and brought the spotlight on Ukraine, this is how I viewed the country.

  • It was The Ukraine. I’m not sure why, since it makes no sense. It’s not The Greece or The Canada. Why The Ukraine? No idea, but it sounded correct.
  • The capital city was two-syllable Kiev.
  • Ukrainians elected a comedian as president. How could they be taken seriously? Yes, a similar argument can be made about the USA in 2016, but that’s a blog post for another day that has already been written by many and read by millions.
  • Ukrainian national clothing was colorful.
  • The Ukraine was part of the former USSR, so could they really be trusted? Aren’t they likely in cahoots with Russia?
  • We have a Ukrainian Village neighborhood in Chicago, so maybe that means they’re okay and can be trusted after all.
  • I had no idea why The Ukraine was important economically.

Things have changed for me.

  • Ukraine. Ukraine. Ukraine. I still want to add a “the” in front, but resist adding it out of respect for the nation of Ukraine and its people.
  • The capital city is now mono-syllabic Kyiv.
  • The comedian-turned-president of Ukraine is 2022’s Person of the Year. No discussion. If you try to discuss it, I’ll fight you. Trust me, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of a slap from me.
  • Ukrainian national clothing is sadly now cammo.
  • The Ukrainian people are awesome as they bravely defend democracy.
  • We still have a Ukrainian Village in Chicago that hosted a huge rally over the weekend.

I am pleased to say that I am unaware of any pro-Russia rallies in greater Chicagoland, although I didn’t check on any Republican Party meetings. And finally …

  • I understand how Ukraine, on Russia’s western border, is rich with resources and is a growing, free market economic power that Putin views as a threat.

I know the Ukrainian people are fighting valiantly. I worry when I see the miles-long column of military vehicles headed to Kyiv. I wonder where the American weaponry is for the Ukrainian armed forces to use. I want to see Ukrainian troops raining anti-tank Javelin missiles upon approaching Russian vehicles. I want to see Ukrainian troops sending Stinger missiles skyward toward deadly Russian fighter aircraft. Many years ago, I personally struggled with working for a company that supplied components for both Javelin and Stinger missiles, among others. You can rightly call me a peacenik. I’ll wear that label proudly. But back then, I had a lot of mouths to feed, and so I worked as a personally conflicted account manager selling components to companies that manufactured Javelin and Stinger missiles. I am no longer conflicted. I want the USA to supply Ukraine with more Javelin and Stinger missiles than they need. Not that it matters, but I finally am at peace with the work I did many years ago. All it took was for the world to teeter on the brink of global war today. Thanks?

Non-NATO Sweden sends anti-tank missiles and other military aid to Ukraine. Normally neutral Switzerland freezes Russian assets. Russia’s border buddy Finland pledges anti-tank missiles and other military aid to Ukraine as well as considers joining NATO. The Pope has pledged to send pikes used by the Vatican City’s Swiss Guard to Ukraine to hold Russian heads. The world is coming together around Ukraine. I fear it is not fast enough, and that when I wake up in the morning, I will hear the news that Kyiv has fallen and many Ukrainian lives will have been lost or shattered. Another piece of the puzzle that we know as world democracy will be lost underneath the couch. We can’t let that happen. I did hear that the US will be sending $350 million in military aid to Ukraine. I just hope we do it in time to allow Ukrainians to defend their democracy and freedom. Tick tock. And while you are at it President Uncle Joe, raise my taxes and send more aid to Ukraine.

Ukraine means freedom to me, and I don’t want the Ukrainian people to lose theirs. What does it mean to you? I’m not very religious, but God bless the Ukrainian people.


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