George H. W. Bush, the 41st US President, invokes the words of Taras Shevchenko at the President's news conference on May 6, 1992


George H. W. Bush, the 41st US President, invokes the words of Taras Shevchenko at the President's news conference on May 6, 1992

 

President of the USA George Bush, 1992-1993
President of the USA George Bush,
1992-1993

 

A few blocks from here stands an imposing monument erected by an act of the United States Congress approved by President Eisenhower. It's a statue of Taras Shevchenko, the poet and prophet of a free Ukrainian nation. And inscribed on the monument is this verse composed by Shevchenko more than a century ago:
...
Our soul shall never perish,
Freedom knows no dying,
And the greedy cannot harvest
Fields where seas are lying;
Cannot bind the living spirit,
Nor the living word,
Cannot smirch the sacred glory
Of th'almighty Lord


Mr. President, when we welcome Ukraine's new independence we honor generations of women and men who kept a flame of hope alive through years of darkness. And free people must never forget the suffering Ukraine endured under the totalitarian yoke. We must remember the victims of Stalin's forced famine, the Harvest of Sorrow. We must remember the religious believers who endured persecution for their faith. We must remember the thousands who faced punishment in the gulag because they spoke out for cultural, political, or economic reform.
Now the darkness is lifted. Ukraine has entered a season of hope and rebirth. The Ukrainian people reclaimed their independence on December 1, 1991. And I am proud that the United States was among the first in welcoming that vote, in recognizing Ukrainian independence, and in establishing diplomatic relations.

Source: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/

 

Remark:
Words from the poet verse which are placed on the monument to Shevchenko in Washington are taken from translation of  Taras Shevchenko's poem "Kavkaz" (The Caucasus) made by eminent British translator Vera Rich.

 

 

 Look more:

The statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota
Leaders of the USA made a unique contribution to honoring Shevchenko. Harry Truman was an honorary head of the Shevchenko Monument Committee. Dwight Eisenhower finally cleared the way for the monument to be installed in Washington and John F. Kennedy sent his greetings to American Ukrainians as they dedicated the site in September 1963 and facilitated implementation. In his letter, he called Shevchenko’s poetry a “noble part” of American historical heritage. Lyndon B. Johnson said:  "He was more than a Ukrainian — he was a statesman and citizen of the world. He was more than a poet — he was a valiant crusader for the rights and freedom of men. He used verse to carry on a determined fight for freedom.”

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