“Bridge of Dreams: Celebrating Ukraine’s Independence since 1973 in Washington State”
Once upon a time, a long time ago, in 1973, a special group of people who deeply loved Ukraine united. Their hearts burned with the desire for Ukraine to be free and independent. But back then, after the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UPR) declared its independence from Russia on 22 January 1918, two years later it was invaded by the Soviet Union.
Many Ukrainians left Ukraine to Europe, Canada, and the U.S., escaping from the Soviet authorities, and some of them settled in Washington State. These remarkable souls formed a club, initially known as the Ukrainian American Club of Washington. Wolodymyr Klos, an immigrant from Ukraine, was the visionary founder and first president. With dreams ablaze, they yearned to make a difference.
In 1973, the club organized an event to celebrate Ukraine’s Independence. Dignitaries including Daniel J. Evans, the Governor of Washington and Wesley C. Uhlman, the Mayor of Seattle, attended, supporting Ukraine’s quest for freedom.
In 1975, the club achieved more wonders — organizing the first Ukrainian Northwest Festival, a grand celebration of Ukrainian culture. Can you imagine? 3,500 attendees! Even the former Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, graced the festival. Their festival bloomed with art, music, dance — a realm where Ukraine’s spirit gleamed.
They all supported the idea of Ukraine being free.
Because of their hard work and passion, the club inspired many others to join their cause. They showed everyone how important it is to stand up for what you believe in and fight for justice and freedom.
Today, we persist as the Ukrainian Association of Washington State, honoring our forebears’ legacy. They gifted us a heritage of unity and cultural strength. Their legacy reminds us that our journey is shared, and we strive for the dreams they held dear — free, united and independent Ukraine.
We offer to recall how the Ukrainian diaspora of the state of Washington celebrated the previous annual celebrations of the Independence Day of Ukraine. Looking at pictures taken over the years, we see smiles, dancing and shared joy.