LVIV, Ukraine – Task Force Illini Soldiers and other multinational partners supporting the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine (JMTG-U) stood alongside Ukrainians at a series of events in Lviv, Ukraine Oct. 11-14 to observe Defender’s Day, a day of remembrance and prayer for fallen Armed Forces of Ukraine Soldiers.“Participating in Defender’s Day as a representative of the U.S. Army was a great honor,” said Task Force Illini Command Sgt. Maj. Douglas Danielson of Bristol, Wisconsin. “The participation allowed us to demonstrate to our Ukrainian partners our recognition of the sacrifices their nation has endured, and our humanity by standing alongside our fellow service members while remembering those who paved the way unifying their country.”Danielson and Spc. Vitalii Anchakivskyi, a Motor Transport Operator from Chicago, attended a Defender’s Day ceremony at the historical Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv, Ukraine, which is the final resting place of notable Ukrainian politicians, artists, and military figures. They placed candles on the graves of fallen Ukrainian Soldiers and paid their respects.Crowds of Ukrainian citizens joined in prayer and sang after placing candles and flowers for their loved ones.“It was very powerful, beautiful music that truly moved my soul, as I am sure it did with everyone in attendance,” said Capt. Christopher Gorman of La Salle, Illinois. “I did not understand the language, however, I read the situation. As I looked around, I could clearly see the emotions of pride, honor, and sorrow in the way everyone in attendance carried themselves.”Gorman, the Task Force Illini S3 Director of Plans, Operations and Training, and a few other Soldiers attended a separate memorial event for fallen Ukrainian soldier Taras Pazin at the Intercession of the Holy Virgin Church in Yavoriv, Ukraine.Anchakivskyi, who is of Ukrainian heritage and is fluent in the language, said he found Defender’s Day exceptionally moving.“It was difficult for me to place my candle while the music was playing. That song was like an anthem for the one-hundred people who died in revolution, and with them, the new Ukraine started,” said Anchakivskyi.Several of the U.S. Soldiers said they found an emotional connection to the day of remembrance through their own experiences losing military brothers and sisters.“We are here at JMTG-U to support our Ukrainian brothers and sisters in all capacities. We have all lost fellow Soldiers, and we share a mutual understanding in honoring our fallen Soldiers,” said Gorman.The Task Force Illini ministry team participated in a memorial service at the 400-year-old Saints Peter and Paul Garrison Church. The Jesuit church served as a garrison building and place of worship during military holidays from 1739 to 1946 and features a series of shrines dedicated to fallen Soldiers and civilians involved in past wars and revolutions.“I was blessed to be able to take part in the service and to offer a prayer. It was a moving event. To see the support in the city for that day of celebration was overwhelming. Seeing the patriotism and the commitment the nation has to its military was inspirational,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Vincent Lambert of Chicago. “It affirmed why we are here and the importance of our mission.”Task Force Illini is the command element of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, which is responsible for training, advising and mentoring the Ukrainian cadre at Combat Training Center-Yavoriv, Ukraine in order to improve Armed Forces Ukraine’s training capacity and defense capabilities.