Armenia Marks 17th Anniversary of National Army

YEREVAN (ArmRadio)–President Serzh Sarkisian visited the Yerablur National Cemetery Wednesday to commemorate the 17th anniversary of the official formation of the Armenian Army.

Accompanied by senior members of the government and other high ranking officials, Sarkisian paid homage to the volunteers and soldiers who fought for the defense of the homeland as it struggled to secure its independence in the early 90s.

“Today, we are celebrating one of the greatest achievemen’s of our independence,” Sarkisian said. “Seventeen years ago, when our independence was in peril, the establishment of the army became the imperative of the day.”

Armenia’s army was officially established on January 28, 1992, “formed and forged in the blazes of war,” he said, noting the army’s pivotal role in securing Armenia’s independence during Azerbaijan’s invasion of Nagorno-Karabakh.

“For us, our Army is a matter of national pride,” Sarkisian said, stressing its contributions to maintaining “a fragile peace” in Armenia’s volatile neighborhood. “For our adversaries [the army] is a powerful means of deterrence and caution,” he added.

“Serving in the army is a great mission,” Sarkisian said. It is for this reason that a military profession is one of the most respected careers in Armenian society, he noted, invoking the legacy of Armenia’s ancient military, whose might and valor was the subject of rumor among Roman generals debating whether an invasion of Armenia would be feasible. “History has rooted a deep esteem for the Armenian army in our people and not surprisingly even for foreigners the Armenian warrior is a symbol of great courage and valor,” he said.

Armenia must continue to have a “modern, combat ready, and a constantly developing strong army,” Sarkisian added, noting that its continuous development must always be” anchored on the most progressive experience and victorious traditions of the Armenian military.”

Sarkisian took a moment to remember those “who participated in the army-building mission;who gave everything for Armenia’s present and future.”

“We bow to the memory of each soldier and each officer who gave their lives for Armenia,” he said. “Let us congratulate all those who have participated in our fight for freedom, who have served in our armed forces, who have made their contribution to the establishment and strengthening of our army.”

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