On Thursday, a vigil was held at the University of Florida to commemorate the lives lost in the Russian/Ukraine War. The UF Ukraine community organization organized the U.S. Collegiate Student Solidarity Vigil for Ukraine at Lake Alice. As part of a networking event held on the same day, the vigil had more than 20 schools and universities participate throughout the United States.
It began with a minute-long moment of silence, as the UF Ukraine volunteers ignited and passed candles to every participant. Each candle represented a life lost in the conflict.
Volunteer Mariia Petryk said that lighting the candles while the wind was blowing was difficult; it reminded her how fickle human life is.
Born in Ukraine, she came to the United States for school. As a graduate student studying information systems and operations management, she says her immediate family is still alive in Ukraine.
She added that they decided to stay in their country.
A UF lecturer and other volunteers read passages expressing personal insight and worries about the war during the vigil. Later, a pastor and rabbi prepared a prayer and addressed the crowd.
Rabbi Jonah Zinn says that when universal human values are threatened, people are responsible for standing up and ensuring that the desire for war comes to an end.
Zinn added that it bears wounds that will never heal and will be with them for the rest of their lives.
The UF Ukraine community organization plans to have more events soon.