St. Stephen Ukrainian Catholic Parish celebrated the 15th anniversary of Ukraine's Independence with a flag-raising ceremony in front of the Ocean County Administration Building in Toms River, NJ With many Ukrainian organizations and about 5,000 Ukrainians living in the Ocean County, N.J. area, Ukrainian Independence Day is marked annually in this community. Over 40 people attended the ceremony this year and were proud to see how the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag flew over the city for a one day. Various city officials attended the ceremony and issued a proclamation in honor of Ukrainian independence. At the ceremony, the well-known politicians Gerry P. Little, Freeholder Director and John C. Bartlett Jr., Deputy Director delivered speeches in which they stressed the cultural diversity of this region and highlighted the contributions of the Ukrainian community to the growth of the Ocean County area.
Ihor Dworjan, a good member of the Ukrainian American Club of Ocean County delivered a beautiful speech describing the centuries-long struggle of the Ukrainian nation seeking reinstatement of the independence they so wanted and deserved. The Rev. Ivan Turyk – pastor of St. Stephen Parish, delivered the spiritual blessing in which he wishes the Ukrainian people strength and courage as they rebuild their state from the ruins of communism and implement the necessary reforms needed to establish a truly independent state.
The Independence Day gathering at the Ocean County Administration Building in Toms River concluded with all participants singing the Ukrainian anthem.
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