Event inspires hope, celebrates the partnership between the U.S. and Ukraine, and recognizes USDA's efforts in assisting Ukraine's agricultural sectors
In a touching display of unity, remembrance, and resilience, the U.S.-Ukraine Memorial Tree Planting Ceremony took place May 10, 2023, at the prestigious U.S. National Arboretum. The planting not only commemorated the strong strategic partnership between the United States and Ukraine, but also celebrated the ongoing commitment of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to share expertise and information to enhance productivity, increase the use of new technologies, and grow bilateral trade and assistance with Ukraine.
The event was organized and championed by Olena Gnes and Serhii Haranskyi, a remarkable couple who have dedicated their lives to shedding light on the daily struggles faced in their homeland of Ukraine. Gnes, a passionate journalist, has faithfully chronicled the impact of war on Ukraine through her YouTube channel, “What is Ukraine.” Her husband, Haranskyi, is also a journalist, and served in Ukraine’s army. They have a treasured, family tradition of planting a tree on Gnes’ birthday, and Haranskyi was granted leave during the war to plant the tree with his family. This act was a shining symbol of resilience and hope. Gnes and Haranskyi are currently living as refugees in the United States with their family.
Even the chosen tree was a testament to the strength of the U.S.-Ukraine partnership: a magnificent pink horse chestnut, a hybrid of the European horse chestnut and the American red buckeye. The European horse chestnut is also the official tree of Kyiv.
The Morrison Garden at the U.S. National Arboretum served as the perfect location for this significant occasion, not five miles from the USDA Headquarters, where Ukraine was honored last year at the USDA People’s Garden. The Arboretum is home to many trees planted in honor of global partnerships, gifted to the United States by nations of the world.