What Makes Us Armenian?

 Armenians in Yerevan marking April 24. Photo by Arsineh Khachikian

Armenians in Yerevan marking April 24. Photo by Arsineh Khachikian

Easy question; tough answer.

Language, land, family, faith, and culture for sure. These are, no doubt, vital elements of our identity.

Without question, our rich heritage and proud 4,000 year legacy – in all their diversity – play a role in shaping who we are today as Armenians.

But, in an even more powerful sense, we are bound to our identity – and ultimately to each other – not simply by what we have inherited, but rather by that which we give of ourselves to our nation, our cause, and our common future.

Ultimately, being Armenian is more about giving, and less about getting.

Less about expectations and entitlements, and more about taking responsibility for our shared destiny.

Being Armenian, to put an even sharper point on it, is about understanding that service and sacrifice – old-fashioned virtues by today’s standards – in fact represent the cost of our continued existence among the family of nations.

That giving – of our time, toil, and treasure – is not an option, but the price of our survival.

But giving is not just a one-way street.

Through our generosity we nourish ourselves, take pride in our accomplishments, inspire those around us, and reaffirm the core of our identity as true stakeholders in the Armenian Cause.

Now of course, there are Armenians who live their entire lives – perhaps otherwise fulfilling lives – without lifting a finger for their nation or their fellow countrymen, but they are, as you can surely attest, missing out on the most powerful and rewarding part of their Armenian identity.

The simple fact is that by giving, we get.

We reinforce who we are by bearing the burden and blessing of our generation to leave a better future for those who follow.

This was true at Avarayr, at Sardarabad, at Shushi, and it’s true today.

The battlefields are different, but the stakes are just as high.

Our struggles today are vital to Armenia’s future: justice for the crime of Genocide committed against the Armenian nation, the strengthening of the Republic of Armenia, the defense of Nagorno Karabagh, the survival of the Armenian population of Javakhk, and – of course – the growth in the power of the Armenian Diaspora.

These are all crucial to our future, and all require strong, visionary leadership that understands that among the most powerful resources in the world today for Armenia is a strong, engaged, and motivated Armenian American community.

The ANCA Endowment Fund provides this leadership.

Principled, hard-working, and effective leadership that our community richly deserves and that Armenia urgently needs at this pivotal moment in the history of our proud nation.

Watch the ANCA Endowment Fund Telethon May 31st.

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One Comment;

  1. Manooshag said:

    In my lifetime I recall, when, in 1965, we Armenians became ‘vocal’. With the ARF leadership we, the first generation born in the United States, together with our survivors, marched and initiated the recognition that
    we felt the world should hear: ‘We are here, We suffered a Genocide. We seek justice.’
    In my lifetime I recall, soon after these annual marches the ARF leadership moved further, April 24th was observed in the middle of New York City – imagine streets closed off, survivors recognized, and government leaders joined to address the gatherings – in recognition of 1918-1923…….
    In my lifetime I recall, being at Madison Square Garden in the New York City April 24th observance, (the 60th year if memory serves me, 1985) together with then Srpazan Karekin, of blessed memory. The guest speaker was Ambassador Morgenthau’s grand daughter, (a Pulitzer Prize winner) addressing us, saying, in effect: ‘ today your nation is a republic of the USSR, but be ready, for one day it will become free’. She was so right. This became a reality within a few short years – without bloodshed.
    In my lifetime I recall, that our leaders in the ANCA were now meeting with members of the U.S. Congress, and even further, attending meetings in the White House. Today bringing our Genocide bill before the U.S. Congress for their vote again, and again……. for morality shall win over ‘politics’, I do believe.
    In my lifetime, I visited Sardarabad. In my lifetime we regained Karabagh. I recall learning of all the great leadership we had in our first Armenian state following the Genocide. Such brilliant men, such dedication to the Armenian people. For only those two years 1918-1920, and yet I was told they had even established a university! Leadership at it’s very best……
    In my lifetime, I should like to see the cycle of Genocide ended – for all humanity, for all innocents. Genocide
    to no longer to exist on our planet. Else where, when, who will be the next innocents violated, slaughtered?

    Yet, it shall be known that we Armenians have been in the lead – IN THE ARENA.
    In my lifetime, today, in my hopes for my Armenian peoples, for my Armenian nation, with efforts great and small – grassroots the world over, we are together IN THE ARENA. Manooshag