YEREVAN — Armenia marked on Tuesday the 30th anniversary of its declaration of independence from the Soviet Union with official ceremonies and an open-air concert.

The ceremonies began in the morning at the Yerablur Military Pantheon in Yerevan where President Armen Sarkissian, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and other senior officials laid wreaths at a Karabakh war memorial.

The main event featured classical, folk and modern music played in front of the country’s political leadership and other dignitaries. It also attracted thousands of ordinary people to the sprawling square.

Addressing the crowd before the live performances, Pashinyan paid tribute to the fallen soldiers. He said they must be regarded as “symbols of life, not death.” He also urged Armenians to “transform our defeat into victory” and “defeat desperation, destiny and death.”

Pashinyan announced that a Park of Life will be established in Yerevan’s Botanical Garden in memory of those killed in the Artsakh wars. Trees symbolizing their life and presence will be planted, and the culmination of the park will be the Tree of Life, symbolizing the lives of all our martyrs and their homeland.

“It will not be a memorial, it will be a park of life, where children will run, make noise, play, young people will have fun, adults will walk and talk, and that park will stand as a reminded that they died for all these people to live, for Armenia and Artsakh to live,” the Prime Minister said.

“The endurance of Armenia and Artsakh, the peaceful and developing Armenian statehood must become the victory they created.,” Pashinyan added.

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