YEREVAN—On the occasion of Armenian Army Day, President Serzh Sarkisian, accompanied by Artsakh President Bako Sahakian, Catholicos Karekin II, Catholicos Aram I, and Armenian government officials, visited the Yerablur Military Pantheon on Wednesday and paid tribute to the memory of the Armenian heroes who sacrificed their lives for the fatherland’s independence.
Marking the 23rd anniversary of the second Armenian republic’s armed forces, President Sarkisian issued decrees awarding high honors to a group of servicemen for their exceptional combat skills and outstanding achievements. The award ceremony took place Wednesday at Armenian Presidential Palace in Yerevan. Sarkisian congratulated the servicemen and the freedom fighters on the holiday and on receiving their awards and, in their presence, delivered his Army Day congratulatory address to his compatriots.
Sarkisian also awarded the Medal of Gratitude to Bulgarian journalist and filmmaker Tsvetlana Paskaleva. During the award ceremony held at the presidential residence, Paskaleva, addressing the audience, emphasized that she and all the soldiers attending the ceremony took the same path on which they lost and suffered, but came out victorious. “Now we share memories and a responsibility. We remember the work that we have done, the friends whom we lost and in front of whom we always bow our heads, and we are responsible for what we have achieved. We achieved this victory at the price of the blood of great Armenians and the tears of Armenian mothers. It’s ours. Now, here in Armenia, and in Karabakh, we are responsible for maintaining the fruit of that victory,” Paskaleva said.
Addressing the Armenian soldiers, she called on them to be honest and brave. “Defend the borders entrusted to you for the sake of your homeland and your parents. There are truly many casualties, but the soldiers of today are a particle of the common victory. Dear soldiers, I want you to believe that the shadows of all the men who fell in the war are with you and us. They are always with us. They will give us the strength to remain standing, achieve everlasting peace and tranquility in Karabakh. I am certain that we will achieve that, and we will achieve it soon. We have to believe and have to take steps in that direction. May the Armenian people be strong and courageous! May the Armenian society and country prosper! I will always be with you. I thank you for your generosity today. It will give me strength to share your sorrow and happiness,” Paskaleva said. Addressing the mothers of all the deceased soldiers, Paskaleva said in closing: “Dear parents, we are sorry for the loss of your children. But they will always be among the glorious heroes. They are our heroes.”
Speaking at the Presidential Palace, President Sarkisian offered praises to those serving in Armenia’s armed forces.
“For our country and people, the army is more than just a public body,” Sarkisian said. “Literally every day and every night the Armenian army protects our lives, very often becoming engaged with bandits who seek to encroach upon our motherland. Today, they are trying to impose on us a new type of war, because they have lost all the previous types, including the so called ‘war of diversions.’ Its absurdity is already obvious even to those who call us the enemy.”
Sarkisian continued, “On the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, some people have decided to frighten us, Armenians, with homicide – Armenocide. Let us confess that what was implemented 100 years ago was centrally-planned and administrated genocide. We also fully understand that such a plan could have been fulfilled only in the absence of the Armenian statehood.
“Today is a red-letter day, and I would like to reiterate once again for those who do not understand well: the Armenian people have returned to life, have returned to the international family of peoples through its statehood and army. They have returned from Hell. The attempts to terrorize the ones who have gone through hell are not serious. Such attempts are delayed by at least 100 years.
“A question arises: what is the connection between the events that happened 100 years ago and today’s army? Is there a plan in someone’s sick brain to destroy Armenia? The answer is that those plans live not only in some peoples’ brains, but also are heard from the lips of the neighboring country’s officials. They can be heard through all possible loudspeakers. According to them, not only Artsakh, but also the entire territory of Armenia are part of the historical lands of ‘Azerbaijan,’ and those lands are subject to so called ‘liberation.’ We perfectly understand the targets of such pre-planned rhetoric.
“What do we say? We say that Artsakh’s right to live in freedom is out of discussion. That is all.”
Sarkisian said in closing: “Since the day of its formation, when it even lacked an official name, our army has been tempered in the fires of war. It was born out of our people’s will to live and be liberated and as a guarantor of their hopes, desires and immortality.
We have not had such a powerful army for a long time. I congratulate all of us on this great holiday. I wish safe service to our servicemen and peace to all of us.”
President of the Artsakh Republic Bako Sahakian also wrote a congratulatory address to Presdient Sarkisian and Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian.
“The Armenian Army is a people’s army. The best sons of our nation contributed to the establishment of the Army, and, today, their brave sons devotedly carry out the sacred duty of defending the Fatherland. We render homage and glory to all those whose have contributed to the formation of a strong and efficient army, to those who maintain our Fatherland’s borders steadfast, safeguard our people’s tranquility and peaceful life,” Sahakian said in part of his address.
“I once again congratulate you and the entire Armenian nation on this memorable day, wishing you all peace, sound health, success and all the best on the way towards the continuous strengthening and prosperity-building of the independent Armenian state.”