Letter: Thank you, Concord, for supporting Ukraine

April 20, 2023

As I drive around Concord, I am heartened every time I see a Ukrainian flag or lawn sign of support. As a Ukrainian American, it means a lot to me that many of my fellow Concordians care. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I wasn’t born in Ukraine. My parents arrived in the USA in 1950 on separate voyages of the same decommissioned troop carrier. They were then in their late teens/early twenties and came together with their parents. Our families were among many Ukrainian refugees who ended up in Western Europe after World War II and refused to return to the USSR for fear of punishment and persecution.

My mom and dad married in the early 1960s, and though were completely fluent in English, chose to speak Ukrainian in the home so that my brother and I didn’t pick up Ukrainian-accented English. It was also important to them to preserve their home culture and language. In the Minneapolis-St. Paul area where we lived, there was a vibrant Ukrainian community. I attended Ukrainian Saturday School and all year I looked forward to the two special weeks in August when Ukrainian camp happened. The friends I made there are like family.

Putin’s attack on Ukraine last year on February 24 had far-reaching consequences. My mom, having lived through World War II in Ukraine, was so traumatized by seeing the invasion on TV that she suffered a stroke. She has mostly recovered though would undoubtedly be in better shape had it not happened. I thus consider her a casualty of the war even though she lives in Minnesota.

So I thank you again, Concordians, for your recognition that Ukraine needs help. Your support also buoys me right here.

Lydia Gregoret

Lexington Road, Concord and Phippsburg, Maine