A Concert for Ukraine

Ukraine’s National flower

It’s been a month since Russia’s savage, brutal invasion of Ukraine. It strikes close to home because of Latvia’s history of invasion by the Soviet Union and nearly fifty years of occupation. And because Latvia also shares a border with Russia. Unlike Ukraine, Latvia is a member of both NATO and the European Union. It’s the same with the other Baltic States, Estonia and Lithuania. If Ukraine falls none of the countries in Eastern Europe can feel safe. Maybe not even the rest of Europe.

So many countries, so vulnerable.

All our hearts are broken. We can all too easily imagine what the Ukrainian people are going through. Our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents went through the same thing. We were robbed of our country and families who were unable to flee or who thought the Red Army would soon be driven out by the World War II Allies. Those who succeeded in escaping expected to be able to go back. They were mistaken. Nobody wanted to prolong the war.

I feel compelled to check on President Zelensky and to see how the Ukrainian people’s fierce resistance is going. I cry for them every day. So do many of my Latvian friends. Music tugs at our heartstrings, as music is meant to do.

This video shows a concert for Ukraine’s freedom that was held in Rīga, Latvia during the early days of the invasion. The song is called, “For the Country of My Birth” composed by a popular Latvian composer, Raimonds Pauls. Lyrics by Jānis Peters.

This song debuted in 1973 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first National Latvian Song and Dance Festival.

The lyrics reference the year 1905 when Russian army troops opened fire on demonstrators in Rīga killing seventy-three and injuring two hundred people.

The translation is my own. To me, the castle of light symbolizes hope.

Then came the fifth year, rain of blood fell
Destroying the tallest trees.
Let's become soldiers, our song will sow a storm.
Forever a castle of light rejoices from the hill.
The countries of Eastern and Northern Europe aren’t the only ones close to Russia. Alaska is 53 miles from Russia.

8 thoughts on “A Concert for Ukraine”

  1. So many of us have cried. Those of us born after our parents left Latvia can only imagine the heartbreak of leaving a home. But, that emotion of heartbreak is so real in my heart and in my mind. I cried when I watched the Ukrainian mothers with little children trudging to the train station, carrying one (!) suitcase with their most treasured belongings. I cried when I watched the senior grandparents, tears of despair running down their cheeks, boarding the trains to escape to Poland. I have vicariously re-experienced the trauma my mother with a brand new baby (my older sister) and my grandparents must have gone through, as I watch todays newscasts. I can’t sleep at night, thinking about the parallels of my family and now the Ukrainian people. So many lives have changed and so many lives have been lost. Putin is the epitome of evil incarnate. Praying for an end to all these atrocities.


    1. I cried when I read your comments. I feel the same way when I see all that. The photo of Zelensky’s anguished face when he visited Bucha haunts me. The songs tear my heart out but I watch the videos again and again.


    1. Especially for those of us who identify so strongly with the Ukrainians people and what they’re going through. Much worse for their countrymen, of course.


  2. I cried the morning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I also feel your compulsion of checking in President Zelensky and dreading to read about any cities that might have fallen.
    Love the concert and posted the link on my FB page. Thank you, Dace!

    Liked by 2 people

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