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Couples are proposing to each other by writing ‘marry me’ on Ukrainian artillery shells to be fired at Russians

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A Ukrainian 155mm artillery shell with a poem and "marry me, Emily?" written on it, alongside a teddy bear, an automatic weapon, and a backpack.David’s proposal to Emily on a SignMyRocket shell.

Courtesy of SignMyRocket/Anton Sokolenko

  • A US supporter of Ukraine proposed to his girlfriend with a message on a Ukrainian artillery shell.
  • They used a Ukrainian service that offers customized notes on munitions in exchange for a donation.
  • They aren’t the only ones to have become engaged this way, with others sending heartfelt messages.

A US couple who met through supporting Ukraine’s defense have decided to tie the knot — with the man proposing via a 155mm Ukrainian artillery shell that said “marry me.”

“When we first started dating, I made an offhand comment one night,” 38-year-old Emily Knight told Insider. “I just said, if you buy me a rocket, I’ll have to marry you.”

A few months later that’s more or less what her partner David did, using a then-burgeoning Ukrainian service known as SignMyRocket that the couple had been browsing. 

—Emily Knight (@bonesknight) November 26, 2022

The project offers supporters of Ukraine the chance to add any message they like to munitions used by Ukrainian soldiers — which are then fired towards Russian forces — in exchange for a cash donation.

Donors get a picture, or even a video, of their customized rocket in the field. The cash goes towards supporting the troops, as Insider previously reported.

So on a bright day in November, a 155mm shell inscribed with the following words soared towards a Russian position: “Roses are red, violets are blue, Putin sucks, and I love you. Marry me, Emily?”

In a video that was sent back to the couple, a soldier can be heard yelling encouragingly: “Marry him, Emily,” as the shell is loaded and fired. 

—Emily Knight (@bonesknight) November 26, 2022

 

The method of proposal may be unusual for most, but according to SignMyRocket’s founder Anton Sokolenko, it’s the third such request he’s had. 

The 21-year-old Cherkasy-based student told Insider that two other couples have proposed the same way — and that another donor had requested a rocket celebrating their divorce. 

Over the last months, people have used the service to celebrate everything from Father’s Day to fortieth birthdays, and it has raised more than $785,000, according to Sokolenko.

A composite image showing various shells, inscribed with messages, in use by Ukrainian soldiers.A composite image showing various shells inscribed with messages.

Courtesely of Anton Sokolenko

For Emily and David, the gesture is intrinsic to their romance. 

The couple met online through a shared compulsion to follow news of Russia’s invasion, passionately supporting the defense of Ukraine.

“I remember not sleeping, just thinking about what was taking place, what Russia was doing,” Emily said. Having grown up in New Orleans and witnessing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Emily was strongly moved by the thought of ordinary people losing their homes.

According to David, 51: “Ukrainians defending themselves is clearly the most moral high ground any country has had in any kind of conflict in my lifetime.”

(David asked for his surname to be withheld, saying he had received threats in relation to his speaking up for Ukraine. His surname is known to Insider.)

The couple closely followed events online for weeks, particularly through Twitter Spaces, and soon found themselves talking privately. 

“She slid into my DMs,” joked David, earning a rebuke from Emily for the “creepy” term.

“We just fell in love,” Emily said.

Fellas in love

Online, they call themselves “Fellas” — a gender-neutral moniker for followers of the sprawling movement of Ukraine supporters known jokingly as the North Atlantic Fellas Organization, or NAFO. 

NAFO emerged as a social media phenomenon in May, and is devoted to fundraising for Ukraine, as well as relentlessly countering pro-Russian disinformation online.

Powered by memes and jokes, they’re most easily identified by Shiba Inu avatars, usually showing the dogs in army fatigues or a track suit.

Despite its humorous tone — Emily called it “gloriously absurd” — NAFO has been hailed in the media as a remarkably successful information tactic

“It’s a brilliant evolution of cyber warfare, on the level that you’re fighting disinformation organically,” said David. “You’re not paying anyone to do it. You’re just using good-willed people to go out there and say: ‘No, that’s a lie. Stop lying.'”

—matthew. (@iAmTheWarax) July 9, 2022

 

Through friends made in the network, the couple managed to send a small consumer-grade drone to the front line, and say they have organized two Twitter Spaces with US Rep. Adam Kinzinger to discuss the war. (Kinzinger himself has added “fella” to his Twitter handle.)

Kinzinger did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Even with a wedding on the horizon — the couple haven’t set a date yet — they say helping Ukraine is their only priority. 

When the rocket-fueled engagement post hit their social feeds, online friends started contacting them, saying: “‘Where do I send you money for your wedding?'” said Emily. “I’m like, ‘no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.'”

They’re planning to forego a fancy wedding and to simply head to the registry office, telling everyone who would have bought them gifts to donate to the Georgian Legion, a pro-Ukrainian volunteer unit, instead, they told Insider.

“People actually sent me a bunch of receipts from donating money,” Emily said. Her mother, who was ready to foot the bill for a white wedding, has been told to send the equivalent cash to Ukraine, Emily said.

“We’re not in our twenties,” Emily said. “We don’t need a white frills wedding, you know?”

“Everything goes to NAFO,” said David. 

Read the original article on Business Insider
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