Blue-Yellow Cross remembers the names of the children lost in the war

There were 358 black crosses, each with a child’s name and the day they were lost forever.
There were 358 black crosses that represented the children's lives that are lost forever.
Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 8:16 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - They’re the youngest victims of war. Children and teens living in Ukraine were forced to grow up far too soon due to being surrounded by the sights and sounds of bombs, air raids and grief.

Organizations are making sure people never forget the true cost of conflict.

WCTV first introduced you to the Apalachicola pilot, John Bone, at the beginning of July when he’s been volunteering as the only American pilot for the Ukrainian Air Rescue.

The Ukrainian Air Rescue is a program that flies in medical supplies near the border and flies wounded refugees to safety.

Bone’s most recent mission took him to Cologne capturing this somber moment he’ll never forget.

“It’s, it’s a very emotional thing to sit there and look at and wonder why such things could possibly take place anywhere,” said Apalachicola pilot John Bone.

Pilot Bone has seen a lot as one of the few Americans on the frontlines of the Ukraine war, but what he witnessed this summer as he stood in the city center of Cologne, Germany was unforgettable.

“I don’t think people know how horrible of a situation it is. I mean, people are being killed,” Bone said.

On display, row after row of crosses representing every child killed since the invasion in Feb 2022.

“When you see this, it’s a cemetery. It’s a picture of what happens in Ukraine when you see this with your own eyes,” said Blue-Yellow Cross Volunteer Julia Chenusha.

There were 358 black crosses that represented the children's lives that are lost forever.

There were 358 black crosses, each with a child’s name and the day they were lost forever.

Chenusha said as gutwrenching as it is, they wanted to remind everyone of what was at stake in this war.

“This is the only chance also for Europeans who are already here as refugees to show that the war hasn’t stopped, the war is not over and we are still fighting,” Chenusha said.

“We also wanted to make people aware that this is real. It’s not only news, it’s not only some headline, it’s real children.”

With thousands in attendance, Chenusha said that even she couldn’t fight back her emotions as she tried to deliver a speech.

“When you know that people are innocent and some people didn’t have any chance to do anything about it,” Chenusha said. “When the bombs and shellings land on the cities, the hospitals and the schools or the prisons where people were held with no chance to escape, it’s just devastating.”

Those 358 crosses were just the number of deaths reported to her organization. The reality is there are others we may never know the names of.

“Nobody knows how many more there could be. The videos and the refugees’ photographs show us are worse than anything you could imagine. You really just can’t repeat what you see, it’s so awful,” Bone said.

Members of the Blue-Yellow Cross said that with no end of the war in sight, they’re fearful they will have to hold another vigil just like this again and for Bone, he plans to embark on his journey back to Apalachicola on Sep. 4, 2022.

WCTV plans to catch up with him again when he’s settled.