Hundreds of people on Friday gathered at Balboa Park to hold a vigil of one year of war in Ukraine.

“It’s different because no one wanted this to go on this long,” said Nadia Haywas, the House of Ukraine Vice President.

It’s been a year of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine that has led to tens of thousands of deaths, devastation and much of a country left in disarray. After 365 days, there is hope in the disarray.

“We will stand with Ukraine today and be there to assist in rebuilding,” said a community member at the event.

Through music, a community first took time to memorialize Ukraine’s heroic resistance.

“As difficult as the circumstances are, the spirit is very strong and I want to stay very optimistic, and we can’t wait to have a concert to celebrate victory of Ukraine,” said Paul Filenko, a Ukrainian bass player.

The event had prayers from a Catholic priest and a Rabbi. Several community members spoke of support.

“So I used the freedom that was available to me as an American citizen, I grabbed my passport and on March 16, 2022, I bought a plane ticket,” a community member said. “Two weeks later in early April I arrived in Ukraine and got to work.”

The community moved to a celebration of the bravery of Ukraine.

Congresswoman Sara Jacobs spoke at the commemoration.

“Also a very proud moment that Ukrainian military has been able to last this long with the support the United States and a Unified International Community,” she said.

Jacobs promised to continue to help.

“I’m confident we have a bi-partisan consensus in Congress to continue supporting the Ukrainians” Jacobs said. “Because this isn’t just about winning the battlefield right now, it’s about the future of Ukraine and building open free democratic Ukraine.”

Visit the House Of Ukraine website for more details.

The House of Ukraine is hosting more events to commemorate the one year:

Saturday, Feb. 25 at 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.: One Year of Resilience rally, Plaza de Panama, El Cid Statue Balboa Park Rally to raise awareness and support for the fight for democracy. Followed by a screening at the hall of nations, a $15 donation is requested.

Sunday, Feb. 26 at 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Liturgy and Memorial Service, St. John the Baptizer Ukrainian Catholic Parish At St. Augustine Chapel, 3266 Nutmeg Street.