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Аlina Kravchenko

‘The day when I grew older suddenly’

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Alina Kravchenkо, Zolotarevska branch, secondary general-education institution, Zolotarivka village, Luhansk region

In the "One Day" essay competition, her work took 2nd place.

‘The day when I grew older suddenly’
Alina in 2014
‘The day when I grew older suddenly’
Alina in 2021

The hostilities reached our village of Zolotarivka in Luhansk region on 11 July 2014. By that time, I had just finished my first year of school and was looking forward to the holidays.

Surely, we heard the roar of some distant explosions long before the war came close to our village, but I did not pay much attention to it because I just did not understand many things then. In addition, back then, we all did not know what the face of war was…

Seven years have passed, but I still remember everything as if it were yesterday. What I felt then, can probably be called animal fear.
Your body and consciousness begin to live their own lives: your legs bend by themselves, you want to fall down, squeeze yourself into the floor, shrink to a size of a grain, to a tiny size, close your eyes, stop hearing and seeing, not to feel anything, not to have connection with others around you, to disappear, NOT TO EXIST.

But the worst was not even that. My parents decided to take me out to our relatives, away from the area of hostilities. A hasty arrangements and packing began. I saw my mother’s lips convulsively pressed together, her sharp and chaotic movements, my dad’s anxious eyes, and tears in my grandma’s eyes…

It was then, and not during the shelling, that I burst into tears so heavily that I even choked on my crying. I realized that my parents were scared too, and that was too much for a seven-year-old girl.

Our parents are the strongest, the wisest, the most powerful people in the world, and when you see them succumb to fear too, when you see helplessness and despair in their eyes, your world is collapsing, and you are overwhelmed by insurmountable panic and real horror. That is exactly what happened to me.

Have you noticed that now, when greeting each other, people first of all wish not health, as before, but rather peace? And not by mechanically uttering a set expression from memory, but quite consciously and sincerely.

What was unaltering before the events of 2014 and was taken for granted has become desirable and sought after. Like air that you do not notice, but you cannot actually live without even for a few minutes. People realized the value of peace and at the same time its fragile nature, vulnerability to hostile encroachments, the possibility to lose it.

The day of 11 July 2014 was engraved in my memory, probably for a lifetime. That day I grew older suddenly, changing my attitude to the people around me. I do not exaggerate or just pay lip service when I write this.

Since the time of that bitter trial for all of us, I have cared for the people dear to me, realizing that adults can also be weak, helpless, and can be in need for support and help. War destroys the world, cripples people’s lives, and makes children and adults unhappy.

That is why it is quite natural that one of my most sought after wishes is the restoration of peace in our Motherland and in the hearts of those who live in our country.

May children never feel fear for themselves and for their parents. May adults always be what they should be in their eyes – the strongest, wisest, and most powerful ones.

When quoting a story, a reference to the source – the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation – is mandatory, as follows:

The Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation

Rinat Akhmetov Foundation Civilian Voices Museum
Zolotarivka 2014 2021 Text Civilian's stories children 2014 shelling safety and life support children 2021 Shelling of Luhansk Essay Competition 2021
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