NEW YORK — From April 24-27, 2014, two light beams will be projected to the heavens from the plaza of New York’s St. Vartan Cathedral (34th St./2nd Ave). As a prelude to the 99th Anniversary Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide that will be held from 2-4 PM on Sunday, April 27, 2014 in Times Square (43rd St./Broadway), the searchlights will shine for 99 hours to honor the 1.5 million Armenians who were systematically annihilated by the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire from 1915-1923. All events are free and open to the public.
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, will lead the prayer ceremony at 12 noon on Thursday April 24, 2014. A replica of the Armenian Genocide Memorial (Dzidzernagapert) in Yerevan, symbolizing the rebirth of the Armenian nation and its inextinguishable spirit of the Armenian people, will also be placed on the Cathedral Plaza. The monument, which means, “Citadel of Swallows”, is named for a bird that always returns to its nest, even if its home has been destroyed. Everyone commemorating the victims of the Armenian Genocide and all other genocides will be invited to place flowers around the Memorial. Visitors are encouraged to use ‘#ShedLightOnGenocide’ with photos and posts to help raise awareness.
The organizers declare, “In memory of victims of the Armenian Genocide, we illuminate the sky in New York City to shed light on Genocide.. We shall never forget their sacrifice and the historical truth of the first genocide of the 20th Century.”
In 1915, thirty-three years before the United Nations Genocide Convention was adopted, the Armenian Genocide was condemned by the international community as a crime against humanity. For nearly a century, Turkey has continued to deny the guilt of its dark past. The organizers add, “We hope one day this crime will see the light of justice through international recognition by all nations throughout the world. It is important to remember the horrors of this atrocity, for if the world fails to recognize the past then humanity is condemned to repeat it.”
On Sunday, April 27, 2014, thousands of devoted Armenian-Americans and their friends and supporters will gather in Times Square (43rd St. & Broadway) to commemorate the first genocide of the 20th Century, The Armenian Genocide (Medz Yeghern). In recognition of Genocide Awareness Month (April), Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) will also be commemorated, as well as other genocides that have occurred since then.
Commemoration participants will include Armenian Genocide Survivors (ages 99+), elected officials and humanitarian, cultural, religious, educational and community leaders. Presenters will include Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee— Senator Robert Menendez, (D-NJ), Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), NY City Council Member Paul Vallone (D-NY), Susan L. Rosenbluth, editor and publisher of The Jewish Voice and Opinion, Dennis R. Papazian, PhD, Founding Director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and others.
The 99th Commemoration and Shed Light on Genocide Project are organized by the Mid-Atlantic chapters of the Knights & Daughters of Vartan (www.kofv.org), an international Armenian fraternal organization headquartered in the United States, and co-sponsored by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (www.agbu.org), the Armenian Assembly of America (www.aaainc.org), the Armenian National Committee of America ( www.anca.org), the Armenian Council of America and the Armenian Democratic League (Ramgavar Party).
Participating organizations include the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, Prelacy of the Armenian Church of America, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Catholic Eparchy for U.S. and Canada, the Armenian Church Youth Organization of America (ACYOA), the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF-YOARF), several Armenian youth organizations, and university and college Armenian clubs.
For more information please visit, www.kofv.org, www.april24nyc.org, www.armenianradionj.net, www.theforgotten.org, www.armenian-genocide.org, www.twentyvoices.com.