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Community gathers to show support for Ukraine
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Brian Carr brought his daughters, Kathryn and Elizabeth Carr, to express support of the Ukrainian people during a candlelight vigil in downtown McMinnville.

Waving blue-and-yellow flags, Warren County citizens gathered Thursday evening in downtown McMinnville in a solemn demonstration of their solidarity with Ukraine and its beleaguered citizens.

In valiant defiance of an unprovoked invasion ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian patriots are fighting to defend their homeland from the superior firepower of the attackers.

Ukraine native Anatoliy Smyrnov, a physical therapist at Ascension Saint Thomas River Park Hospital, implored the local gathering to pray for the protection and safe deliverance of his former nation’s people. Russian artillery and fighter jets and bombers have targeted civilian centers as well as military targets, resulting in thousands of casualties.   

More than 2 million have fled the country to safety in neighboring states and to havens elsewhere in the world.

The vigil was organized by the Warren County Democratic Party, whose advertising invited the entire community without regard to political identity or affiliation. “The defense of democracy and freedom against a totalitarian, fascist autocrat and dictator like Putin is a position we can all agree to, regardless of our differences over domestic policy and politics,” said Joseph Moore, chair of the local Democrat organization.

Thursday’s event served also as a fundraiser for UNICEF, one of the United Nations humanitarian relief agencies on the front lines of sheltering and aiding women and children trying to escape the violence of the Russian invasion. 

An audio recording of the vigil is set to air Friday at 2:30 p.m. on McMinnville Public Radio 91.3 WCPI.