Southern Califronia Community Remembers ARF Leader Hrair Maroukhian at Memorial Service

ENCINO–The funeral procession for former Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau member and well-known national figure Hrair Maroukhian took place on December 23 at the St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Athens–Greece. On December 24–Maroukhian’s body was transported to Yerevan–in order to give the homeland the opportunity to pay its respects to his memory. On December 26–Maroukhian’s body was laid to rest in Yerevan’s City Pantheon.

Sunday–December 27 was a day of mourning for the Armenian community of Los Angeles. The community came together as a whole to pay their final respects to Maroukhian who passed away on December 21 in Athens–Greece. Over 1,000 people showed up at the Holy Martyr’s Armenian Church in Encino to pay their respects on Sunday. Led by Consul General of Armenia–Armen Melkonian and First Secretary Edward Taranian–church leaders–community leaders–and Prelate Bishop Mooshegh Mardirossian–the event was a respectable farewell to an esteemed champion of the Armenian cause and the Armenian people.

After the church ceremony a memorial was held in Avedissian Hall at the Holy Martyrs’ Ferrahian Armenian School. The memorial got underway with the official flag ceremony by Homenetmen’scouts. After the flag ceremony several speakers took the stage to remember Hrair Maroukhian.

In his speech master of ceremonies Vazken Madenlian stated that "the entire ARF community extending from the United States to the Middle East and Australia is in dire mourning because of the passing of one of the organization’s most precious sons. A person who throughout his entire life had served the Armenian people and their cause with his entire soul–heart and being. Maroukhian had helped and carried the organization for years on end devoting himself wholeheartedly to the cause while adding his personal mark on the organization’s history. He had unparalleled power of mind and spirit. Listening to his words and ideas while sitting with him at a meeting or even in private was a unbelievable experience."

At the 100th anniversary of the ARF Maroukhian said–"Let me go to Armenia–Let me die in Armenia’so that Armenia can live." That quote clearly symbolizes Maroukhian’s reverence for his homeland and love for his people.

Hovig Saliba who led the ARF’s Western delegation at Maroukhian’s burial in Yerevan stated–"Hrairs don’t die–they become immortal with their passing."

Taking the stage–Consul General Armen Melkonian said that "Maroukhian is a man who lived his entire life with the following the difficult path of a public–political figure. He has fought for our cause and our nation as a whole. The sadness does only befall upon one organization or one community–but upon every Armenian throughout the world. The display of sheer love and respect shown for Maroukhian in Yerevan–led by President Robert Kocharian–as Maroukhian’s body was heading for its final destination in his homeland–is proof of this man’s importance to his people. We should continue to pursue what Hrair Maroukhian wanted which is to come together and do away with any negative forces–be they internal or external–in order to achieve our ultimate goals."

The speaker on behalf of the ARF’s Central Committee was Vicken Yacounian who expressed his grief and sadness for Maroukhian’s passing because it was Maroukhian who instilled a feeling of hope and optimism to the Diaspora as a leader of a new generation of Armenia’s who are born in the Diaspora. Maroukhian’s passing came at a time when the nation got a new start toward establishing those ideals which it holds so sacred.

It overthrew the oppressive government of Levon Ter Petrossian and re-established the system of government which had not been seen since the first republic of 1918. During a period in which Karabakh is taking huge steps in the direction of solving its own conflict once and for all; and it came at a time when foreign governmen’s such as those of Russia–France and others are recognizing the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

Vicken Hovsepian spoke on behalf of the younger generations of Armenia’s.

He stated that Maroukhian was important because he thought and molded a generation to grow up not accepting defeat and not compromising their beliefs.

He worked to incorporate the resources of youth into the universal fight of all Armenia’s toward one goal.

The ARF Central Committee of Western United States–received condolence messages and dignitaries offering their sympathy on Saturday at its headquarters in Glendale.

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