August 24, 2021: Ukrainian Independence Day

WHEREAS, on August 24, 1991, the Parliament of Ukraine formally declared an independent, sovereign, and democratic Ukrainian state, establishing the territorial integrity of Ukraine as sovereign and inviolable, further upheld by an overwhelming majority of Ukrainians in a national referendum in December of that same year; and,


WHEREAS, for centuries, the people of Ukraine sought and struggled to achieve an independent state all the while preserving their culture, language, and self-identity; and,


WHEREAS, the territorial integrity of Ukraine is sovereign and inviolable, and portions of Ukraine's territory are currently under Russian military occupation in contravention of international law; we honor the efforts and sacrifices of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to stave off further Russian military advances in Ukraine, and their readiness to defend the entire European continent and its United States allies against further aggressive actions of the Kremlin; and,


WHEREAS, on June 30, 1991, the Indigenous Crimean Tatar People of Ukraine restored their historic executive-representative body, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, which in 2016 was once again banned by Russian occupying forces; and,


WHEREAS, the Mejlis building in Simferopol was seized by Russian law enforcement, as the language, rights, and culture of Ukraine's Indigenous Peoples remain under threat today; and,


WHEREAS, in the immediate aftermath of World War II, thousands of Ukrainians found themselves beyond the borders of their homeland as refugees and quickly spread to several continents, branching out from Europe into North and South America and Australia; and,


WHEREAS, Ukrainian Americans continue to make significant contributions to the cultural fabric of the United States while embracing their rich history and heritage, with which they share values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law; and


WHEREAS, Ukraine has always had a special bond with the United States, with an over 20-year working relationship on U.S-NATO deployments, with Ukraine sending servicemen and women to serve alongside U.S. forces in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq;


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim August 24, 2021, as Ukrainian Independence Day and urge all citizens to join in commemorating this important anniversary. On this day, let us recommit ourselves to helping the Ukrainian nation reclaim full sovereignty over its international borders and remember the heroes who sacrificed their lives to ensure freedom and happiness for future generations.