Of Sunflowers and Patriotism

I feel humbled by the patriotism of the Ukrainian people in the face of a Russian invasion. This came home to me when I saw a viral video on YouTube of a Russian grandmother in a knit hat confronting a Russian soldier. She offers him a handful of sunflower seeds to stuff in his pockets, so that when he is felled by Ukrainian bullets, from his body will spring sunflowers, which are the national flowers of the Ukraine.

The video is not of particularly good quality, but it makes its point clearly:

Several years ago, Martine and I went to a Ukrainian church festival at the Cathedral of Saint Vladimir in East Hollywood. We were the only non-Ukrainians there, but we were made to feel welcome. Songs were sung and patriotic poems were recited. We didn’t understand a word of them, but we were impressed by the people in attendance—and the food that was served.

I hope that somehow the Ukraine comes out of this mess in one piece, and that Vladimir Putin is punished for his cruelty. Ours is not a world where justice normally prevails, but, if anyone does, the Ukrainian people deserve a break for display unity and goodness in an otherwise damaged world.