Ukrainians fleeing the oppressive Tsar in the late 19th century, and later the equally oppressive Soviet regime in the 20th century, found work and community in Michigan's manufacturing cities, including Grand Rapids.

Many came to work in manufacturing beginning in the late 19th century

Over 39,000 Michiganders claim Ukrainian heritage, most of them in the Detroit region, where they came, like many others, to work in the Motor City's many automobile manufacturing plants.

Grand Rapids small Ukrainian community gathered to pray for peace

A Ukrainian community grew here in Grand Rapids on the west side around St. Michael's Ukrainian Catholic Church on Gold Street and Sibley Street near Seward.

They gathered recently to pray for peace in their home country, which is currently under invasion from neighboring Russia.

"All Ukraine people in the whole world asking please help," Oleksandra Soltinska told WZZM-13 News at the service.

Twitter site 'Michigan's Past' has been honoring Michigan's Ukrainians

The Grand Rapids Public Museum has several photos illustrating Ukrainian immigrants' life in Grand Rapids, including this photo of a young couple, which was recently re-posted to the Michigan Past Twitter feed.

Yearly Ukrainian Festival draws tens of thousands

The Michigan Ukrainian Sunflower Festival regularly draws upwards of 25,000 guests to the grounds of St. Josaphat Parish in Warren, just north of 8-Mile from Detroit.

The sunflower is a traditional flower in Ukraine, and Ukranian immigrants following World War II brought its seeds with them to America. Each year students from the Immaculate Conception Grade School plant sunflower seeds around the perimeter of the festival grounds at St. Josephat so that the flowers are blooming during the festival.

Punks kept old Ukrainian Hall Alive

If you're a punk music fan you may remember shows at the Ukrainian Workers Hall in Detroit, which still stands, abandoned near the Hamtramck border. originally built as a gathering place for line workers of Ukrainian descent.

Ukrainian was the first Red Wing hero

Hall of Fame hockey goalie Terry Sawchuk of the Red Wings was of Ukrainian heritage, and was a big reason the Wings won three Stanley Cups in four years from 1951-1955. It was during Sawchuk's reign in goal that the legend of the octopus began. (Teams back then needed eight wins to win the Cup, and the octopus had eight legs).

Here's a look back at Michigan's Ukrainian heritage from a recent series of Tweets aimed at reinforcing support for the Eastern European nation.

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