[Very dearest ♥ granddaughter ♥ Mariyka]
I was watching a speech by a guy named Herman Cain, a black man from Georgia (USA, not Caucasus), who is considering running for president in 2012. He said a lot of great things about America, and he said them very well indeed. Watching him brought you to my mind.
Now you may well ask: Why?
You said once that I'm the grandfather you never had. I noticed too that in your photos from Ukraine I didn't see any old people - my age or older. I really don't know at all -- "Не знаю ничого" ["I know nothing"] is one of my favorite Ukrainian sentences -- but please allow me to guess that a lot of Ukrainian people about my age might have been patriotic dissidents against the Soviet regime, and were either executed or exiled to the Gulag for it.
(I have read "The Gulag Archipelago," all three volumes, three times. Also Orest Subtelny's book "Ukraine" twice.)
The point, dearest Granddaughter, is that back in your family history there undoubtedly were people who knew what slavery under the Tsarist or Soviet government was, just as Herman Cain's ancestors were slaves on plantations in the American South before the Civil War.
I know that some of the very old Ukrainians at St. Constantine lived under the slavery of the Soviets and the Nazis, and when they came to America sixty or fifty years ago, they cherished the liberty that this country gave them -- and an unfree Soviet Ukraine never gave them.
I remember Maria Iwaskewycz showing pictures of a new little village church, and saying with tears in her eyes that they will have Divine Liturgy again -- after seventy years. Seventy years without God! It was she, or perhaps Katherine Zastawny, or Julia Maksimkiw, who said, "Never trust anyone who wants to do away with God, Marriage, or the Family!"
So, Dearest Granddaughter, at the same time I ask you to never forget you're a daughter of God and a daughter of Ukraine, I ask you to remember that you live in America now, and likely will your whole life. Please remember that you, who have in your Ukrainian blood a longing for liberty, can put that longing to work as a voting citizen of the United States.
Be a good student, be a good doctor, and be a good American too.
твий ♥ люблачий ♥ Дідусь
[thy ♥ loving ♥ Grandpapa]
PS – Today is Abraham Lincoln's Birthday (it used to be a national holiday). I ask you to look up his Gettysburg Address and read it very carefully so that – as he said – "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
God bless you richly, Dearest Granddaughter Mariyka!
PPS for Americans - "Mariyka" is an endearment-diminutive of "Maria."