YEREVAN (Sona Hakobyan, Public Radio of Armenia) — The delegation of US Congressmen visited the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial today to pay tribute to the memory of the Armenian Genocide victims.

“The reason our delegation is here is to recognize the Armenian Genocide. We are here for that reason 99 years after the tragedy,” Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives Ed Royce told reporters.

The Congressman reminded that US President Ronald Reagan recognized the Armenian Genocide. “It is something the Americans know. It is in our textbooks, it is taught to our children in the schools. There is a reason why this lesson is so important and is taught in the United States,” he said.

“It is very difficult for the world to accurately assess the future, if a wrong evaluation is given for the past. It is therefore important to speak honestly about the Armenian Genocide of 1915. It was the first genocide of the previous century. Adolf Hitler, when planning the second genocide – the Holocaust, mentioned: and who remembers the annihilation of the Armenian people? We remember and we are here to express our solidarity and support to the Armenian people,” said Royce.

U.S. Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) said, in turn, it’s an honor for him to be here on this day. “This was a very solemn occasion to be here both to acknowledge the genocide and the slaughter of 1.5 million martyrs and to bring the world’s attention to this historical fact, and also to honor the resilience of the Armenian people, the strength of this country,” he said.

“We are here not only to honor and remember this horrific moment in Armenian history, in world history, but also to commit ourselves to working together to ensure that Armenia remains a strong and vibrant country,” Rep. Cicilline said.

Rep. Eliot Engel said “the American people acknowledge the Armenian Genocide.” He voiced hope that the Turkish government would also recognize the Armenian Genocide. “There is a very strong and vibrant Armenian American community stretching from California to New York and all the states in the middle, and the American Armenian community has been very vocal, very positive and very effective in letting all Americans know about the Armenian Genocide,” he added.

“When we look to the future, we have to learn from the past, and the past has to be acknowledged. It cannot be denied, truth and facts cannot be denied. We are here today to acknowledge the past, to express our condolences to the Armenian people and to let you know that the United States stands with the people in Armenia in condemning this horrific genocide that happened nearly a hundred years ago,” the Congressman said.

“I am honored to be here today with a strong delegation of Members of Congress of the United States,” US Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern said. “I’m here today on behalf of President Obama and Secretary Kerry to honor the victims of the tragedy of 1915.

“In a few hours President Obama will make his statement on Remembrance Day. And I’m confident that once again President Obama will honor the memory of 1.5 million Armenians massacred and marched to their death on the final days of the Ottoman Empire. “I’m confident that he will again condemn these massacres as one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century,” Ambassador Heffern said.

“The President’s statement will be a strong statement that acknowledges the facts of what happened between 1915 and 1923,” he added.

The US Congressmen planted fir trees in the Memory Alley of Tsitsernakaberd.

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