PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Hundreds, including many members of Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organizations paid their respects during the unveiling of a memorial gravestone and plaque for Ukrainian American Markian “Franko” Paslawsky at Askold’s Grave in Kyiv on August 19, exactly one year after Mr. Paslawsky, 55, was killed in action while serving in the Ukrainian Donbas volunteer battalion near the town of Ilovaysk, Ukraine, on August 19, 2014.
Askold’s Grave is a place of honor for heroes of Ukraine, where victims of the Battle of Kruty are memorialized as is Oleksandr Klitnytskiy, a recently identified victim of the Euro-Maidan protest who is counted among the Heavenly Brigade.
The gravesite was blessed by local clergy, who served a liturgy on the one-year anniversary of Mr. Paslawsky’s death. The monument headstone is in the shape of a cross and features Markian’s picture in Ukrainian fatigues giving his signature peace sign and smile.
The headstone is inscribed: “Markian Gregory Paslawsky (‘Franko’), died in Ilovysk in defense of Ukraine; Heroes never die!” Also inscribed are the last lines of Taras Shevchenko’s poem “Testament” (Zapovit): “And in the great new family, The family of the free, With softly spoken, kindly word, Remember also me.”
Surviving family members were in attendance, including Markian’s mother, Orysia, his two sisters, Olena and Irena, and brother, Nestor (general manager of the Soyuzivka Heritage Center).
Also present were former Donbas Battalion commander Semen Semenchenko, Mr. Paslawsky’s former unit commander Taras Kostanchuk and former commander of the Aidar Battalion Sergei Melnychuk. Former national deputies present included Volodymyr Yavorivskyi, Stepan Khmara and Yevhen Nyshchuk. Nearly 100 members of the Plast military camp Legion also paid their respects to their brother in arms.
Born and raised in the United States, and a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Markian Paslawsky had lived in Ukraine for nearly 20 years following Ukraine’s renewed independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He was granted Ukrainian citizenship (after renouncing his U.S. citizenship) when he volunteered to fight the invasion of Ukraine by Russia-backed forces.
Plast Ukraine chief Yaroslav Yurchyshyn and Plast U.S.A. Board of Directors Chair Dr. Christine Kochan posthumously presented Mr. Paslawsky the Iron Plast Cross awarded by the worldwide Conference of Ukrainian Plast Organizations – Plast’s highest honor bestowed on individuals in defense of Ukraine. The award was received by Mr. Paslawsky’s mother, Orysia.