OTTAWA – Cpl. Filip Konowal, a Ukrainian Canadian whose valor at the Battle of Hill 70 near Lens, France, in August 1917 earned him the highest medal of the British Empire, the Victoria Cross, is being remembered in Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine, thanks to the efforts of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (www.uccla.ca) and their Ukrainian partners on this project, Free People (Vilni Lyudy).
From August 15 to September 15, a billboard has been erected to honor the only Ukrainian ever distinguished with the Victoria Cross.
UCCLA’s director of research, Dr Lubomyr Luciuk, observed: “On August 22, 2017, the Battle of Hill 70 memorial will be publicly unveiled, marking the 100th anniversary of that struggle. There, thanks to the generosity of a number of Ukrainian Canadian donors, including the Temerty Family Foundation, the Ihnatowycz Family Foundation and the Petro Jacyk Education Foundation, a central pathway has been named the Konowal Walk. We wanted to ensure this hero of the Great War would also be remembered in Ukraine. Working with our friends in the Free People movement, we arranged for this commemorative billboard as a reminder to passers-by and especially those working in the Ukrainian Armed Forces Headquarters located nearby, of the true grit, bravery and endurance of this Ukrainian hero.”
Dr. Luciuk noted: “At a time in its history when Ukraine is defending its independence, it is certainly worth recalling this Ukrainian soldier of the first world war who fought in France when that country was the victim of an imperialistic power. By honoring Cpl. Konowal we likewise recognize the patriotism and self-sacrifice of the Ukrainian men and women who are today defending their homeland against unprovoked Russian aggression.”