KYIV – We each have our own private Maidan memories. Some uplifting, far too many incredibly tragic, but all – forever vibrant and absolutely indelible. I will never forget my long walk home to the Maidan four days after the shooting stopped. As I made my way on February 24, 2014, down now hallowed Instytutska Street and across the Maidan, the silence and devastation were utterly unbelievable.
There was almost nowhere to walk with so much debris and still-smoldering rubble. Scores of everyday people were walking about stunned and silent, some carrying flowers, all crying, stopping at the sites where there were still fresh puddles of blood, bullet-scarred lampposts and trees.
During the final days of the battle, ordinary people had carried their wooden doors, cabinets, even refrigerators to the barricades. Bullet-ridden makeshift plywood shields and bloodied plastic construction helmets were still laying exactly where their Heroes had last carried them. With scores of people intentionally precision-shot through their heads and necks, the amount of blood on the streets and square was horrific.
Just two years on, I am still drawn to the photos and makeshift memorials to those who gave their lives so that Ukraine would be free, those of Ukraine’s Greatest Generation. Private, painful memories that make up our common Maidan destiny, the destiny of those who lived to remember those who died…