Dozens waved flags or waved at cars on Matanzas Woods and the interstate.
Two grandmothers of a Palm Coast woman are hiding in a bunker right now, outside of Kyiv, Ukraine. Another Palm Coast man has a sister in danger in Ukraine. The father of a Palm Coast woman recently flew back to Ukraine to be with family and stayed awake to the sounds of bombing all night.
These are some of the stories told under blue and yellow flags on the evening of Monday, Feb. 28, in a show of support on the Interstate 95 overpass on Matanzas Woods Parkway, as Russian forces continued to press down on Kyiv, more than 5,000 miles away.
Marina Onishchenko, in a yellow cap and blue jacket, her hair in braids, organized the effort through Facebook groups. She has lived in Palm Coast for the past seven years, after growing up in Ukraine.
“This is the smallest we can do right now for our country,” she said.
She chose the overpass because she wanted to reach not just Palm Coast residents but also the interstate travelers.
Yana Stasishin and a young boy, Pyotr, walked up to the overpass carrying a sign that said, “Stop war.” Stasishin said she has lived in Palm Coast for eight years and has learned that a Russian tank is in her home city in Ukraine.
Kseniya Edwards said she hopes a no-fly zone is imposed on the war zone, to protect the people of Ukraine.
Andrew Popov joined the demonstration, saying his parents, grandparents and sister are safe. “But who knows what can happen tomorrow?” he said.
Two more Palm Coast residents originally from Ukraine were among the first to arrive on the overpass. Bogdan and Galyna Vintonyak moved here just six months ago; before that, Bogdan Vintonyak worked as an electrician for New York City.
Galyna Vintonyak carried a Ukrainian flag. As she reached the chainlink fence overlooking I-95, she rolled the flag tight on its pole and then pushed it through the fence, so that it would unfurl in the strong wind, directly over the trucks and cars, many of which honked.
“I want to support my people,” Galyna Vintonyak said. “My heart is crying. It’s not simple war. This is crazy. Putin is out of his mind.”
She said she hoped Palm Coast residents would sympathize with the plight of Ukraine.
“We are all together on our planet,” she said. “How can you live if someone is suffering? How can you be happy if your neighbor’s house is burning?”