What Does the Independence Depend on?
If I had a time machine and travelled to the 50th anniversary of Ukraine's independence, I'm sure, I would say the following:
I'm proud of you!
I'm proud of your citizens!
I'm proud of the path we chose one day!
I'm proud of each step of those of us, who keep following this path day by day!
Your children don't look for a better life abroad any more, as it used to be.
They've come and keep coming back home, and there are 52,000,000 of us again.
They care about you, and you care about them back.
I'm Ukrainian, and I'm proud of this.
Your are the best, my independent country!
Congratulations, my Ukraine!
However, I don't have a time machine.
Ukraine is turning 28, not 50 today.
Congratulations and best wishes are not enough on the Independence Day.
It would be great if they were conscious and meaningful to make relevant adjustments and to realise our path.
What are our achievements after we gained independence?
We have given birth to two generations of responsible and passionate people.
Two generations of people independent of authorities, difficulties, poverty and explanations "why something is impossible".
What have we learnt after independence?
We have learnt to raise money all over the country — from Kyiv to Crimea, from Ivano-Frankivsk to Donetsk — for a surgery of a child and to search for Ukrainians all over the world to help this child in another country.
We do this instead of arguing that the country doesn't care about its children.
We have learnt to give way to an ambulance, keeping to the right despite a narrow street, occupied by three rows of parked cars.
We do this instead of arguing that the health care reform is failing.
We have learnt how to manage by ourselves following the principle 'many a little makes a mickle'.
We, modern Ukrainians, have developed volunteering and armed our army; we support the old, get orphans ready for school, save lives and take care of street animals.
We do this instead of shouting at the top of our voice about human indifference and saying that authorities don't care.
We've been learning to care about our environment at the most important level — at our personal.
To care means not to bury butts in sand at beaches, not to leave garbage after picnicking, not to litter from cars, but to sort waste and to be a role model for our children, instead of saying that the country is very dirty.
We learn to plant trees instead of complaining about deforestation in the Carpathians, floods and environmental disasters.
We teach our children not to take the property of another, instead of watching crime news and being afraid of crime rate.
We've been learning to wait for our turn and observe rules and laws, instead of saying that corruption is ineradicable.
We've been learning to say 'Thank you' and to smile, instead of being upset about rudeness of others.
We've been learning to take personal responsibility for what we do and what we don't do,
instead of blaming the government, colleagues or neighbours.
We've been learning to be citizens.
We've been learning to be responsible.
We've been learning to appreciate what we have.
We've been learning not to depend on circumstances.
We've been learning to be proud of what we do and will do ourselves.
We've finally started building the country for our children.
We'll eventually learn how to start with ourselves and will do this, because all other qualities are a part of our DNA.
The Ukrainians are still Cossacks, even if we don't have that traditional Cossack haircut.
Our future, as a nation, is subject to our independence.
We can and we will.
Congratulations, my independent Homeland!