BY PUZANT BERBERIAN
“And these were his brand new boots” she said as tears rolled down her cheeks. She explained how he bought them a week before the war because he was going to complete his service at the beginning of June and wanted to look presentable when he came home. “His friends brought them to me a few days ago along with a few more of his belongings” she muttered before being overwhelmed with tears. There were so many emotions felt as she spoke to us, but her sense of pride for what her son had accomplished was very clear. She would take long pauses at the end of her sentences, look at his picture that was surrounded by flowers, smile, and continue talking.
I knew that visiting the homes of fallen soldiers for the With Our Soldiers campaign was going to be difficult; I was completely speechless. Moreover, I was humbled. Here I sat in the very home where Vladimir Alikhanyan grew up, in front of the mother that raised him and is now mourning his loss. Just like most of the brave soldiers that lost their lives, he was younger than me. Born in 1996, the same year I was blessed with a younger brother, Vladimir’s life was much different than ours. At a young age he was a commander of a tank and was stationed in Fizuli but was called to the front lines when the war began. After two days of restless fighting and entering three kilometers into enemy territory, his tank was hit by the enemy.
Vladimir’s home was our first visit of the day. We visited three more homes of fallen soldiers, driving from Tavush to Lori to Arakadz. These soldiers all had different backgrounds.
Karen Davtyan was a father of two, Misha Aghajanyan was an only child, and Garik Movsisyan was in his first year of service. Every family was in deep pain but the sense of pride they all shared was incredible.
These were the soldiers who sacrificed everything to protect our homeland, and these were the families responsible for raising our heroes.