MONTEBELLO–On Saturday June 9–at the Bagramian Hall in Montebello–under the auspices of the ARF Western United States Central Committee and organized by the ARF Dro Gomideh a dinner banquet was held to benefit the establishment of the General Dro Kanayan Leadership Institute in Armenia.
In the presence of approximately 300 people–about $35,000 was raised. A conspicuous $10,000 was donated by the ARS Diamond Bar "Arpi" Chapter and the "Nairi" Chapter of the ARS donated a sum of $500 raised by the donations of the pre-school and Saturday school students.
General Dro’s son and gran’son–Mardig and Dro Kanayan–and from Washington the military attach of the Armenian General Consulate of the United States Colonel Haig Kotanjian. Vahik Gurjian–member of the relocation committee of General Dro’s remains was also present.
Garo Madenlian–Shahan Stepanian and Ara Khanjian were representing the ARF Western United States Central Committee. It should also be noted that the local Armenia’s whose representatives were attending the banquet were mostly people who were brought to the United States from Germany by General Dro–and had worked with him closely. They had great memories of General Dro–and were honored to have the opportunity to meet his immediate family members.
Master of Ceremonies–Serg Simonian–in his opening remarks mentioned the significance of the occasion which will preserve the eternal memory of "Dro" a fedayee,and a major national hero. He emphasized the vast popularity of General Dro in Montebello and remarked that the Armenian people knows how to respect the memory of their martyrs. Remembering the past but emphasizing on the importance of building the future–Serg Simonian weighed the significance of the construction of the new Leadership Institute which will train Armenia’s future leaders.
Colonel Haig Kotanjian welcoming the public on behalf of the Defense Minister of Armenia–Serg Sargsyan–and General Arthur Agabegyan said: "Today–once more–we have the honor of remembering one of the renown martyrs of the Armenian people–General Dro–his martial breviaries in the homeland and his contributions to the Diaspora. Dro Kanayan with his internal military power and political-strategic influence from the times of the first Armenian Republic became a significant figure of the national army."
Colonel Kotanjian presented General Dro as a brave fedayee–the organizer and the revitalizer of the national army whose military personality was reveled in the critical momen’s of the Armenian existence.
He praised the construction of the Leadership Institute which is geared towards the preservation of the national and strategic security. He talked about equilibrium of the region–the organization of the Armenian Army and the significance of its improvemen’s–stating that our military leadership pays a close attention to the military developmen’s around the world. Mardig Kanayan–Dro’s son and head of the project–underlined the importance of the Armenian community of Montebello–and the contributions of his friends and coworkers. He also talked about the impressive public attendance in the relocation of General Dro’s remains last May.
Then he stated the strength of General Dro and his belief in creating the Armenian homeland. He mentioned the long term battle of the ARF–because of which it has been possible to sustain the Armenian Flag and our values. And finally he talked about the General Dro Leadership Institute and it’s significance.
On behalf of the ARF Central Committee–Garo Madenlian in his speech announced a full support in the construction of the institute–since the ARF has expectations from the establishment. He also presented Drastamat (Dro) Kanayanor or Unger Dro as a successful person who never had failures in his military or administrative paths. Garo Madenlian said he was fortunate to meet with General Dro’s friends who had worked with him in Germany and Lebanon.
During the program Lilit Ousdayan–a student of the Mesrobian Armenian School read pieces of "Mrrgatzin Dro" by Simon Vratsian–and the "Nairi" dance ensemble of the ARS performed. Armenian Folk music was also presented and conducted by Violinist Ashot.