One of the proudest moments in my career as a marshal came in June of 2013 at the world famous 24 hours of Le Mans when I heard the Ukrainian anthem playing in the distance after the Ferrari Challenge support race. I couldn’t believe it! Looking around my team in amazement, my polyglot chef de poste Bernard contently nodded his head in confirmation: “Yes, that is the Ukrainian anthem…” it was bliss.
Among a team of Czechs, French, Belgian, German and Spanish marshals I was one of the Americans… but to me that was the proudest moment as a Ukrainian. I was born and raised there. And even though I grew up under the Soviet flag, it was Ukraine that I grew up in. What is happening now in the news is sad because of the needless loss of life, but an important moment in history that should settle the ignorance that exists. When I moved to the US it was awkward to be referred to as Russian. I stubbornly corrected people and soon found out that most of my classmates that were considered by everyone as Russians were actually from Ukraine. Why didn’t they correct the mislabeling?
I hope at least through Motorsport there will be recognition that Ukraine is not Russia, and Russia is not Ukraine. Embracing diversity.
In case people were wondering from my many previous posts from around the world why I pose with the yellow and blue flags. Ukraine is the reason. I love my country, I am a proud Ukrainian and pray for peace. Go Ukraine, Go!