Community Celebrates the Impact of Armenia’s First Independence Day

LOS ANGELES–Perhaps no other day symbolizes the resilience–hope–and profound commitment to freedom of the Armenian people more than May 28–1918. The 86th anniversary celebration of the May 28–1918 Armenian Independence Day took place on Sunday–May 23–at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre–which was packed by the community-at-large and invited guests who had gathered en-masse to celebrate the noteworthy historical event.

Present were ARF Bureau members Vicken Hovsepian and keynote speaker Hagop Der Khatchadourian–Consul General of Armenia to the US Gagik Kirakossian–members of the Central Committee of ARF Western Region–representatives of religious bodies–and representatives and members of ARF-affiliated organizations–as well as a wide array of other community institutions and organizations.

The Los Angeles Homenetmen’scouts performed the flag ceremony–followed by the singing of the US national and Armenian anthems.

Speaking in Armenian and English–Master of Ceremonies Razmig Haroun–in his opening remarks–recalled the words of Nigol Aghbalian–"The Armenian man of future centuries will be amazed at the heroic resoluteness of that generation which stood by the side of its abandoned homeland and–with its weakened and inexperienced hands–but with an unfettered spirit–created a new Armenia from ruins?May 28 celebrates this telling and ultimate determination." Haroun stressed it is impossible to celebrate this great resurrection of the Armenian people without recalling that extraordinary generation which lay the foundation in Armenia with the concept of government. Haroun spoke of the heroes who achieved the impossible because they were united–body and soul; and it was that psychological atmosphere that gave birth to the miracle of Sardarabad. "We must be able to recreate the spirit and atmosphere of Sardarabad–and must be able to infuse the Armenian spirit with the patriotism and knowledge that existed during Sardarabad–in order to carry out our pan Armenian struggle as one people."

Keynote speaker–ARF Bureau Member Hagop Der Khatchadourian characterized the miracle of the May victory as one that "crushed the centuries-old chains of slavery–terror–and burdens," to inspire hope in the Armenian people–hope in the future and firm conviction in the power and abilities of Armenia’s.

When the genocide served to enslave the Armenian mind and conscience–along with literary creations–even banished the existence of the Armenian exiled from the 20th Century–May 28 emerged as the beacon that dissipated the dreadful obscurity of psyche and spirit–and served to rekindle national confidence and honor."

Addressing Armenia’s political tensions–Der Khatchadourian said that the ARF firmly believes that the key to resolving the current situation is through guaranteed reforms in the life of the country and its people–ensured through Constitutional reforms to strengthen democratic mechanisms–spur economic growth–establish social justice–and fight against corruption–and the shadow economy.

Speaking about national advancemen’s realized in the last 15 years–Der Khatchadourian said that it is our sacred duty to seize the moment with our collective capabilities to ensure even more victories. "There is still a long road; our quest continues–until we collectively reintroduce our inalienable rights to a united Armenia–through uniting as Armenia’s."

Also participating in the night’s celebrations were Consul General Gagik Kirakossian–singers Sose Keshishian–Sushan Petrossian–Garine Avakian–Hovhannes Shabazian–Rasmik Mansourian–and Karnig Sarkishian–and dancers of the Armenian Dance Centera and Hamazkayin Ani Dance Ensemble.

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