MONTEBELLO–500 ARF members–friends and supporters gathered Friday December 8 at the Baghramian Hall of the Holy Cross Church in Montebello to mark the 110th anniversary of the party. The banquet–organized by the ARF Western Region Central Committee–was made possible by the generous contributions of Mr. and Mrs. Varant and Houri Melkonian.
This year’s banquet was marked by honoring individuals who have served the community throughout the years. The honorees were Mr. and Mrs. Manuel and Josephine Sasounian–Hasmig Derderian–and Varsenig DerMegerdichian.
Also present were Prelate Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian and Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian–ARF members – Mario Nalbandian of Argentina–Vicken Hovsepian of Canada–Vicken A. Hovsepian of Western Region USA–Armenian Consul General Armen Melkonian–ARS Central Executive Chairwoman Maro Minassian–and ARS members – Houri Najarian of Boston and Rozeen Saghdejian of Fresno.
The evening’s speakers were ARF Bureau Representative Hrant Markarian from Armenia and Central Committee Representative Viken Yacoubian. Markarian delivered the Bureau’s message and spoke about the meetings held throughout the week with various members and representatives of the community. Markarian said he was happy to see so many Armenia’s in Los Angeles concerned and working for the well-being of Armenia. He also talked about the hardships imposed on the party by the TerPetrosyan regime. Yet he emphasized the continuous work carried out by the ARF despite the obstacles the party faced. He also thanked the Diaspora for its support during those difficult years.
Markarian said the Diaspora inherited the ARF for seventy years and successfully transferred it back to the homeland. Today the party embraces the "one nation–one country–one struggle" principle–and acts according to this doctrine in Armenia–Artsakh–and the Diaspora. He concluded by recounting an episode from the liberation of Shoushi.
Viken Yacoubian–after welcoming Hrant Markarian–proudly announced the presence of the three other Bureau members–thus comprising a near majority of the Bureau body. Yacoubian stated he and everyone should take pride in belonging to a party that was started by the people and continues to serve the people. He thanked Armenian Consul General Armen Melkonian for regarding the Los Angeles community as one–rather than taking into account the various differences that tend to split the community. Melkonian will be leaving his post soon.
Yacoubian also thanked Hampig Sassounian Defense Committee members Varsenig DerMegerdichian and Hasmig Derderian–for their 20-year-long efforts at bringing justice to Sassounian. He also thanked Mr. and Mrs. Manuel and Josephine Sasounian for their continuous support–both morally and financially.
The master of ceremonies for the evening was Roubina Peroomian.