The National Monument Committee of the Ukrainian American Veterans, Inc. has selected a design for a monument honoring all Ukrainian American men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. The monument will be built at the Archdiocesan Center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA on a prominent site provided by the Archdiocese near St. Andrew Memorial Church in South Bound Brook, New Jersey.
A request for the submission of designs for the memorial was publicized in the Ukrainian American community and the response was quite impressive, with numerous interesting designs being submitted. Members of the monument committee participated in a thorough review process of all the submitted designs before arriving at the final selection.
The committee would like to thank all those who participated by sending in their designs. The amount of hard work and degree of creativity expended were quite obvious.
Ukrainian Canadian sculptor John Jaciw submitted the design selected by the committee. The design was chosen because of its uplifting effect upon observers. Two tall granite pillars immediately lift the eyes, hearts, and minds of any visitor in body and spirit to prayerful commemoration of those Ukrainian Americans who gave so much to and for their nation and all it stands for. This effect dramatically increases as one draws physically closer to the monument.
The committee is Co-Chaired by Mathew Koziak, Immediate Past National Commander of the Ukrainian Americans Veterans, and Protopresbyter Frank Estocin, Secretary of the Consistory – UOC of USA. Honorary Chairs are Metropolitan Constantine, Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of USA, and Metropolitan Archbishop Stefan, of the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the USA. Steven Wichar of the UAV was also an honorary chair, but sadly, passed away after the committee was formed. Archbishop Antony, President of the Consistory – UOC of USA, serves as active advisor to the committee. Others serving on this committee are: Anna Krawczuk, UAV National Commander and committee treasurer; V. Rev. William Diakiw, UOC of USA; V. Rev. Daniel Gurovich, UCC of USA; Irene Estocin as Assistant Treasurer; Walter Bodnar, as Secretary; Col. Leonid Kondratiuk, Vasyl Luchkiw, Oksana Koziak, Bernard Krawczuk, Michael Wowk, and Edward Zetick. Walter Demetro, an original member, has also fallen asleep in the Lord.
This national monument pays tribute to all branches of the United States Armed Forces and will honor the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian American men and women who have served and continue to serve in the U.S. Military. Ukrainian Americans have served in peace and war since the Spanish-American War, however, according to US Army Historian Col. Leonid Kondratiuk, there is historical evidence that Ukrainians also served in the US Army during the Civil War.
There is currently no official count as to the number of Ukrainian Americans who have served in the US Armed Forces. One statistician lists 90,000 living veterans at this time, while stating that over 200,000 Americans of Ukrainian descent fought in WWII.
The Ukrainian American Veterans Registration Project is collecting the names of veterans from veterans themselves, their families, and the Ukrainian American community. This information is being entered into a computerized data base and plans are to make it accessible to the public as part of the UOC of USA Historical and Educational Complex. These veterans are also being memorialized through the publication of a multi-volume series of books listing their names and photographs, when available. Volume I was released in 2004; volume II is slated for 2008.
The Ukrainian American Veterans Monument Committee expects to begin its fundraising efforts for the monument this summer. Donations payable to UAV may be sent to the UAV National Monument Committee, PO Box 5058, Somerset, NJ 08875.