PASADENA- Over 250 members of the community, elected officials, activists, friends and supporters of the Armenian Cause gathered to remember the 1.5 million lives lost during the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman government during World War I at Memorial Park on April 23.
The candlelight vigil, organized by the Armenian Council of America (ACA), Gaidz Youth Organization (GYO) and Armenian Athletic Association (Homenmen) marks the 101st anniversary of the Genocide.
GYO members Alison Ghafari and Ani Apyan delivered a message from GYO, reminding the audience the importance of continuing to pay homage to the Genocide victims and survivors and remembering the past, so that history will not repeat itself in the future. Following the message was a recital of Silva Kapoutikyan’s “Retort” and Paruyr Sevak’s “We Are Few, But We Are Armenian,” by Ani and Anna Apyan.
The Nor Serount (New Generation) Cultural Association Dance Troupe eloquently performed beautiful dances to somber music and patriotic songs performed by Vako Cholakian and Arno Mkrtchyan energized the audience made up of young and old, Armenians and non-Armenians, as they sang in unison and proudly waved the Armenian flag.
Among elected officials in attendance were Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich and Pasadena City Councilmember Gene Masuda. Mayor Terry Tornek dedicated a proclamation to ACA from the City of Pasadena, which declared April 24 as the “Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.”
On behalf of ACA, Courtney Tossounian thanked the elected officials in attendance and discussed the importance of having hope for a better future, as survivors of the Armenian Genocide had very little to hold onto, but hope. “We did not only survive, but we thrived and we will continue to thrive,” added Tossounian.
In his address to the audience, Supervisor Antonovich reaffirmed his long standing support for the Armenian American community and pledged to continue to support the Armenian Cause. Supervisor Antonovich also announced that next year, a permanent display will be placed at Grand Park in Los Angeles to honor the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
The evening concluded as members of the audience placed flowers and wreaths at the Armenian Genocide Memorial monument which was erected as a permanent display in 2015. “We would like to express our gratitude to the Pasadena community took part in this event,” said ACA Chairman Sevak Khatchadorian. “The vigil not only paid homage to our Genocide victims and survivors, but it was also a good example of the power of the Armenian community when we remember our past and demand justice.”