Ukraine commemorates tenth anniversary of Heavenly Hundred Heroes Day

People at the monument to the Heavenly Hundred in Kyiv, Feb. 2021
People at the monument to the Heavenly Hundred in Kyiv, Feb. 2021
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February 20 commemorates Heavenly Hundred Heroes Day in Ukraine in honor of the fallen protesters of Ukraine’s 2013-2014 Revolution of Dignity. Ten years ago on this date, pivotal events unfolded that shaped the revolution's outcome and forced the dictator-president Viktor Yanukovych to flee.

48 protesters were killed on Feb. 20, 2014, bringing the total number of dead to 107 and listed as Heavenly Hundred Heroes.

Origin of the "Heavenly Hundred" name

On Feb. 21, 2014, Ukraine bid farewell at Maidan Nezalezhnosti to those who perished during the Revolution of Dignity. Two Ukrainian poets, Lyudmyla Maksymlyuk and Tetiana Domashenko, were inspired by the solemnity of the ceremony to compose verses that introduced the term "heavenly hundred" for the first time, referring to those who had died. Domashenko recited her poem from the Maidan stage.

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The name emerged by analogy with the main structural units of Maidan - the hundreds. This expression was quickly adopted by the media, appearing in official documents related to the events of the Revolution of Dignity.

The Order of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes was established the same year, and dozens of Ukrainian cities renamed streets after the fallen protesters to honor them.

A part of Institutska Street in Kyiv, where the mass shooting of protesters occurred on Feb. 20, 2014, is now called the Alley of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes.

Who is included in the Heavenly Hundred

The Heavenly Hundred originally consisted of 48 people who were killed on Institutska Street and near Maidan Square on Feb. 20, 2014. Later, more names were added to the list.

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98 deceased participants of the revolution were posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine in November 2014. The Heavenly Hundred, which currently includes 107 individuals, originally consisted of those 98 heroes as well as four others who died in the early days of the Russian-backed insurgency in Donbas.

The first of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes, Pavlo Mazurenko, was beaten to death in Kyiv on Dec. 22, 2013, by assailants wearing police uniforms. Viktor Orlenko, the last of the Heroes, died on June 3, 2015, from injuries sustained on Feb. 18, 2014, near the Trade Unions Building.

The heroes ranged in age from 17 to 82 years old, with Nazariy Voytovych as the youngest at 17 and Ivan Nakonechnyi as the oldest at 82. Among the 107 Heavenly Hundred Heroes, 104 were men and 3 were women.

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When the Memorial Day emerged

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko issued a decree on Feb. 11, 2015, declaring Feb. 20 as Heavenly Hundred Heroes Day "to immortalize the great human, civic, and national courage and dedication, strength of spirit and resilience of citizens, which changed the course of our country's history."

Kyiv held its first "Minute of Silence - Infinity of Memory" memorial event at Maidan on Feb. 20, 2015, to honor the demonstrators who lost their lives. Dozens of spotlights simultaneously illuminated in the capital at the locations where demonstrators fell.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine