Many months ago the whole world watched when Russia decided to attack Ukraine. That was an incredibly terrible thing to happen. Ukraine has been an independent country from Russia since 1991. Ukraine is a young country but it was a free country. Ukraine belonged to Russia before but it pushed to make their own future without Russia. Today the Russians think that Ukraine is their property. That is not true. That is not correct.
Today is the celebration of the National Flag of Ukraine. You have seen the flag on the Internet or in the news. The Ukraine flag is blue and yellow. It is simple, but it is beautiful too. The people of Ukraine can understand the Russian language but Ukraine has its own language. The language of Ukraine is Ukrainian.
Ukraine is not a rich country, but it has a high value on education. Ukraine is number four in all of Europe for people who finish university studies. Ukraine has its own music and art, and a long history that is unique. They have their own stories. They have their own sense of feeling. Ukraine has an independent identity.
You and I are very lucky. We have beautiful flags for our countries. We should show our flags sometimes and remember the many good things that come from Japan and from Canada. The most important thing that we have in Japan and Canada is the same thing that they have in Ukraine. That is democracy. Japan and Canada and Ukraine are all democratic countries. We share the same kind of societies. We share the same idea that freedom is important for all people. We believe that our countries are not property of another country. Japan is not the property of China. Canada is not the property of America. Ukraine is not the property of Russia.
Most days we are very free. We never think about freedom. We never think about the meaning of being “free”. Every day we can wake up, go to school, talk to friends, study, eat lunch, go to after school activities, go home, and enjoy our lives. On weekends we can travel anywhere we like. We can wear any kind of clothes that we like. We can listen to music we like, read books or manga that we like, play games, play sports, and meet anyone we like. We can say anything we like. We can sing songs we like. We can make art we like. We are completely free and no one can stop us.
That is what democracy is about. To be free to live a free life.
We cannot understand how scary life is in Ukraine today. The people in Ukraine are very afraid of Russia. If Russia comes and takes the country, will the people be free again? Will people in Ukraine be free to sing and talk and go where they like. Can they see friends and family again?
We have no idea.
But maybe we should remember more about Ukraine and about the trouble that they are having. It is not so good that we do not see news about Ukraine on the TV these days. The war on Ukraine is not finished and the Russian army continues to do terrible things to the Ukrainian people. We need to remember to support Ukraine always, until the war is finished, or until the Ukrainian people are free again. If we do not do that it is possible that Japan or Canada may have big trouble in the future too.
Today is the National Flag Day of Ukraine. It is the day for Ukraine to show its beautiful blue and yellow flag. I hope it will fly in the sky free forever. I hope that our flags, the flags of Japan and Canada, will also fly in the sky free forever. Democracy is a gift that we have received from our parents and our grandparents. Let’s not forget who we are. Let’s not forget that we are free, and that we should always be free.