VAN NUYS–More than 20,000 people flocked to Birmingham High School’s athletic field on Monday–July 4–to celebrate Homenetmen’s 30th Navasartian Games closing ceremonies–officially marking the end of the athletic competitions.
With colorful flags depicting the region’s 18 Homenetmen chapters and the Navasartian torch burning at the center of the field–the Homenetmen Regional Scouting Council members–accompanied by Regional Executive chairman Raffy Ispendjian–led the procession of guests to the field–including Navsartian Honorary presidents Mr. & Mrs. Shant & Vergine Haytayan and Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian–along with the 2005 Homenetmen Exemplary member Lilit Baghdasarians and her husband. Following the ceremonial permission by the Honorary President–the Homenetmen regional scout council members and chapter scoutmasters proceeded to the field.
With Regional scoutmaster Hrayr Boyajian’s cue–the closing ceremonies commenced with the Homenetmen color-guard bearing the flags of the US–Armenia–Mountainous Karabagh Republic–Homenetmen–and three state flags. A second color guard–bearing the flags of the US and Armenia’symbolizing the 30th Navasartian Games–made their ceremonial entrance onto the field. The US and Armenian national anthems were performed by the Homenetmen Western Regional marching band.
Special guests included Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian; Consul General of the Republic of Armenia Hon. Gagik Kirakosian; Sheriff Lee Baca; Homenetmen Central Executive members Manuel Marselian and Mher Tavitian; ARF Central Committee representative Hagop Tufenkjian; ARS Central Committee Vice Chairman Hasmig Derderian; State Assembly member Carl Liu; City of Los Angles councilwomen Wendy Greuel; City of Glendale Mayor Rafi Manoukian; Clerk of the City of Glendale Ardashes Kassakhian; Glendale Unified School District Gregory Krikorian; Burbank Unified School District member Paul Krikorian; and former Homenetemen Honorary presidents Mr. & Mrs. Charlie Ghailian and family.
The pre-show featured the energetic and graceful Nairi Dance Ensemble of the San Fernando Valley Hamazkayin chapter–directed by Cathrine Hairabedian.
Homenetmen Regional Executive Chairman Raffy Ispendjian highlighted the importance of Homenetmen–declaring–"Empower the body and mind and you will not only elevate yourself but others with you. This was the objective for a group of visionaries who had survived the First genocide of the 20th century when they established this organization. Nearly nine decades later–while the Universal acknowledgement of the first genocide of the 20th century remains unexplainable missing–the acknowledgment of individual and collective advancemen’s is refuted."
Placing the celebration of the 30th Navasartian Games in the US in context–Ispendjian stressed–"We are undeniably aware of the inseparable connection between individual and collective freedom. Our forefathers–both Armenian and American–fought bravely to guarantee us these truths and it remains our inherent responsibility to protect them. Homenetmen is committed to the Armenian youth–with them we will grow and for them we stand as guardians for their right to individual excellence and collective advancement."
Homenetmen Central Executive member Mher Tavitian gave an inspiring speech about Homenetmen’s work on a global level–as he announced the Pan Homenetmen games to be held in Athens–Greece.
A poignant moment was when the Homenetmen Ararat Choir–conducted by Arig Gevorkian–took the stage and performed a special Navasartian song written by Gevorkian for the 30th Navasartian Games.
Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian commenced his blessing remarks by praising Homenetmen for its continuous efforts to educate generations of Armenia’s throughout the world.
Following the Bishop’s address–Winds of Passion–In Progress?–and the Gor Band performed Armenian songs.
The parade’s announcers–former Regional Executive member Garbis Chkherdemian (in English) and HTV Armenian news anchor Nora Tchaparian– outlined each chapter’s achievemen’s and Navasartian wins as the trophies were presented. As Regional scoutmaster Boyajian gave the command–the long-awaited parade of athletes and Homenetmen members began. Cheers filled the stadium as Homenetmen chapter Executives–Committee members–coaches–athletes–and scouts proudly marched.
The evening’s festivities continued into the late hours of the Navasartian festival.