Remembering Victims and Survivors of Chernobyl

By Gabe Osterhout

July 22, 2010 Updated Apr 27, 2006 at 12:03 AM EDT

It's been 20 years since the world's worst nuclear accident.

On Wednesday, people around the world, and right here in Broome County, are remembering Chernobyl.

Ukrainian mourners carried single red carnations and flickering candles as they remembered the 1986 Chernobyl explosion.

Hundreds turned out, including President Viktor Yushchenko.

The explosion sent radiation drifting across vast stretches of Europe.

The United Nations says about 9,300 people will likely die of cancers caused by that radiation.

Nearly 30 people came to the Sacred Heart Ukrainian Catholic Church in Johnson City for a special service to remember the victims of the deadliest nuclear disaster known to man.

Even though it happened halfway across the world, people say the disaster affected everyone.

"It's affected this community rather closely and it's still close to their heart and for which its important for them to remember how something like this, even though it seems far away, really can affect each and every one of us," says Rev. Teodor Czabala of the Sacred Heart Ukranian Church.

The radiation from the Chernobyl explosion in 1986 eventually took the life of one of this Church's former priests.

Ihor Stets, seen here in 1998, passed away a year later, from an illness contracted while cleaning up from the disaster.

"When he was still a young man, he was part of the regiment of the army, regiment of the army that were liquidators of the Chernobyl accident," says Czabala.

After the service, parishioners came outside to ring a bell 20 times...one time to commemorate each year that's passed since the Chernobyl disaster.

If you were unable to attend tonight's mass, but would like to remember the victims of Chernobyl, you still have another chance.

The church will hold another mass commemorating the 20th anniversary of the disaster this Sunday morning, April 30 at 10 a.m.

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