Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kharkov's Independence Day

Sunday, the 23rd of August, marked Kharkov's Independence Day. This year marked the 66th anniversary of the day when they marched the Nazi fascists out of the city. Kharkov was the largest populated city in the Soviet Union that was taken captive by the Germans during WW2. About 70% of the city was destroyed during that time and tens of thousands Kharkovians were killed. To the left is a monument of this event in Kharkov's history, located on the street "23rd of August" here in the city. Below is a great link our teammate Mike found that takes you to a website that shows pictures of Kharkov while it was under German control:

Even though our team was on a retreat this last weekend, we scheduled a free day on Sunday to come into the city and enjoy the festivities. Tim and Rebecca Brinley as well as Tim's parents, Herb and Virginia Brinley, were with us for our retreat, so they were able to enjoy the festivities with us. The main square in the center of the city was filled with people and got even more crowded as the evening progressed. (The sign to the left says, "We love you, Kharkov!" and the picture on the right above is of people looking at various pictures of Kharkov while it was under the German rule.) There were many tents set up selling things, the popular item being plants of all sorts and sizes. In the weeks leading up to Sunday, the city was buzzing with construction projects working to make Kharkov look it's best on it's Independence Day. The hard work all paid off and it did look really beautiful. To the left is a picture of David and I in front of the Kharkov coat of arms in the park, just one of many large flower designs in the main park.

While we were in the park, we decided to take some time to play baseball with the younger boys. Thanks to Rebecca, who brought her Nerf ball bat and ball, we had a great time. The boys did pretty good and we had a great time. While we were playing, two other Ukrainian boys came over to watch and we invited them to join. They had a great time and when it was time to wrap up, they asked when we'd be playing next. Now we know to go play baseball in the park and we'll meet the local children! Here are some pictures of the boys from our game together (if you want, you can click on them to see a larger image):

Batter Up, Malachi!

And Canaan!

Silas wasn't so excited.
On the right is a photo of David and Tim playing with the boys we met in the park:


Deanna said...

What a fun way to meet people - playing baseball with their kids!
The pictures from your travels are amazing! What a wonderful time you are having seeing the country and spreading God's word.

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