TWIN FALLS, ID (Magic Valley News)—The Armenian community of Idaho inaugurated on Saturday a granite memorial stone to the Armenian Genocide at the Twin Falls City Park, reported the Magic Valley News.
The memorial is a permanent reminder that the Turks killed between one-million and 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923 that were living in what was then the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey).
The Twin Falls City Council approved the memorial in September by a 4-3 vote after considerable debate. The Armenian American community in Twin Falls donated the tree and plaque.
26-year-old Liyah Babayan, who came to Twin Falls from Armenia with her family when she was 11, spent much of this year lobbying and raising money for the granite memorial that was placed at Twin Falls City Park on Saturday.
Babayan approached Twin Falls Mayor Lance Clow early this year with a petition requesting the memorial.
“He let me know that it might be an obstacle to place this type of plaque and memorial on city property,” Babayan said, explaining that the city wants plaques to commemorate events that have direct historic ties to the Twin Falls community. “The memorial commemorates a historic event that happened overseas.”
She explained that the memorial brings awareness to why Armenian refugees are in Twin Falls.
“It really means a lot to my parents and my grandparents,” said Babayan, now a U.S. citizen who witnessed the fall of the Soviet Union as a child in Armenia, then a part of the Communist union of 16 nation states.
“We have rooted ourselves in this community. I grew up here. We own a business in Twin Falls,” Babayan said, adding that many other Armenians who came to Twin Falls as refugees are today United States citizens and contribute to the community.