BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – The largest crowd in memory showed up for the annual Ukrainian Independence Day flag raising outside of Binghamton City Hall today.

Nearly 150 people turned out to mark the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s independence following the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The celebration comes at a difficult time for local Ukrainian-Americans as Russia continues its war which began 6 months ago today. 

In addition to the flag raising, today’s ceremony includes numerous speakers, including clergy from local Ukrainian Orthodox, Catholic and Pentecostal churches. 

There is also music, prayers and gratitude expressed for the donation of relief supplies and money to support Ukrainian residents and refugees.

The crowd flew Ukrainian flags and many wore traditional Ukrainian clothing.

Some of the speakers expressed confidence that the Ukrainian military will prevail.

Taras Stets said, “We commemorate this day to support Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Through the heroic determination of our brothers and sisters, Ukraine will prevail and we will be here again next year to raise the flag of Ukraine and joyfully celebrate Ukraine’s independence.”

Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham read a proclamation declaring today Ukrainian Independence Day in the city and pledging Binghamton’s continued support of Ukraine in its defense of its country. 

Ukrainian Independence Day has been celebrated in Binghamton going back to 1950.