The Ukrainian National Security Service sent out a nationwide notification to please-please not ignore air raid alarms today. And I am typing this on my phone from the hallway under the air raid sirens wailing, but I still want this to be a message of hope because I feel very proud today to belong to this beautiful nation. ‌

Ukraine declared independence a mere 31 years ago.

Can you believe how young we are? But also are we really? Our enemies sneer at us saying that we are not a real county, that we did not exist until 1991, but then what is Ukraine? What is it that our poets praise since XII century? We are a nation, we have a beautiful rich culture and strong self-identity that survived so many persecutions, so many occupations. We never took it lying down, we fought every step of the way, every single generation had to stand up for their freedom. And even when we were called russians or Poles, or Austrian-Hungarian, when they killed us and tried to "assimilate" us, erase our national identity, we always knew that we were Ukrainians. We would raise our bloodied heads after every hit, we would stand up tall and we would fight.

Countless generations of our ancestors dreamed about freedom, we were a nation, and we HAD a home, we were just not allowed to CALL it our home. We alway lived on these lands since the 9th century. We were Kyvian Rus, then we were torn apart and it took us a while to pull ourselves back together. I am 33 years old, and even though my childhood was economically tough, it was happy 33 years. I was so lucky to be born at the dawn of this dreamed-of independence, I never knew any violence, and I was so deeply sure that it will stay that way. But today I have to stand up side by side with my brotheren and defend that dream. I am 5+ generation Ukrainian, and I swear on the blood of my ancestors flowing in me that I won't fuck it up.

Yes, I am just one small person, but I am a UKRAINAN person, so when I stand up, I know I will feel another Ukrainan shoulder by my side.

On February 24th we had no HIMARS, but we had our bare hands and it was enough to stop tanks.

On February 24 we had no international support, but we had each other and we created the biggest volunteer network in the world.

On Feb 24 we were told we'll fall within 3 days, but we stubbornly came together to mix Molotov cocktails and we have been holding on for 6 months now.

And today on August 24 we celebrate our independence with an entire world by our side.

When we stand up to the enemy today we can feel the shoulders of Poles and Brits and Americans, and many other nations. It is the first time that we are not alone in our fight. We would still have been fighting even if we were alone, but it's nice not to be. With your help we can not only defend ourselves and our freedom, not only do we feel seen and appreciated for everything we've gone through. With your help we can start rebuilding our homes, and we can do it in style.

So this holiday today is just as much yours as it is ours. I invite you all to celebrate today the fact that Ukraine is still standing, Ukraine is still free.

Stepan Bandera once said that a day will come when a single person says "Glory to Ukraine" and millions will answer "Glory to heroes". Today is that day.

Glory to Ukraine.