MONTEBELLO — Hundreds gathered at Holy Cross Armenian Apostolic Cathedral’s Bagramian Hall on Saturday, February 10, as the Armenian Displaced Persons (“DP”) Community reunited to honor the legacy of humanitarian, philanthropist, and visionary George Mardikian.
“The evening was filled with laughter, tears, fond memories, and countless tributes to a great humanitarian who was so instrumental and generous in ensuring the safe arrival of our DPs to America,” said Goharik Gabriel, Chairperson of the Committee to Honor the Legacy of George Mardikian.
Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian led a special unveiling ceremony of a statue honoring George Mardikian in the foyeur of Bagramian Hall. The statue was made possible through the initiation and efforts of community members Haig and Argine Kelegian.
Mardikian was a major force in bringing thousands of Russian-Armenian “DP’s” to the United States from Germany after World War II. Among these “DP’s” were the founders of Armenian Mesrobian School, which the Gala benefited.
“The DP community played a pivotal part in the establishment of Armenian community institutions such as Bagramian Hall, Tumanjan Hall, Holy Cross Cathedral, and the Armenian Genocide Martyrs Monument. Mesrobian School is the crown jewel of the ‘DP’ community’s internationally significant achievements and Mesrobian is proud to have joined in this effort to honor Mr. Mardikian’s legacy and all those who helped plant the roots of the community that is flourishing today,” shared Armenian Mesrobian School Principal David Ghoogasian (Class of ‘82).
The Gala’s Master of Ceremonies David Mosikian welcomed the hundreds who gathered at Bagramian Hall.
After the Prelate’s invocation, opening remarks were made by Levon Kirakosian, Esq., a member of the Committee to Honor the Legacy of George Mardikian and an ARF Western US Central Committee member.
Receiving the evening’s Mesrobian Spirit Award were Haig and Argine Kelegian. In addition, Karpo Dilanian, who during his youth filmed and documented life in the Armenian DP Camp, received the Mesrobian Legacy Award, and Dr. Boris Bagdasarian (Class of 1982), a hematologist/oncologist, received the 2018 Mesrobian Alumni Achievement Award.
A tribute film, “Song of a Warrior,” premiered at the Gala and was applauded throughout, making a lasting impression on the audience. The documentary was a production by Von Kochar, written by Shauna Vartanian and narrated by Mesrobian’s very own Principal Ghoogasian.
A trailer was shown for a documentary film by Ara Madzounian titled, “The Remnants. “
A slide show featuring a radio interview of George Mardikian was prepared by Shauna Vartanian, Mesrobian High School Digital Media student Nune Papikyan, and Mesrobian Digital Media instructor Razmig Sarkissian.
The evening’s entertainment was provided by the Hosharian Band, as well as a special dance performance by the Savoian family.
The Gala to Honor the Legacy of George Mardikian was organized under the auspices of Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian in collaboration with the ARF “Dro” Gomideh; Armenian Mesrobian School; and the Committee to Honor the Legacy of George Mardikian.
Haig Mardikian, the son of George and Naz Mardikian, for circumstances beyond his control, was unable to attend the Gala but sent his appreciation and warm regards to the Committee to Honor the Legacy of George Mardikian and all those who keep the memory of his father alive.
The Gala honored not only our community’s history, it became a part of it. In attendance was the USC Institute of Armenian Studies, which recently announced is documenting the Armenian DP story as part of a larger project about Armenian diasporan communities.
Ara Madzounian was recording footage from the evening for archival purposes.
Joe Murkijanian and Ken Davitian were present and announced their intentions to create a popular film based on the DP experience. They also took footage and interviewed guests present.
All these individuals and institutions want to record these vital stories. If you would like to share pictures, information, your stories, or participate in an interview please contact [email protected] The Mesrobian High School Digital Media class will be a part of these efforts.
For all the pictures from the evening visit the Mesrobian Facebook Page.
Armenian Mesrobian School, established in 1965, is fully accredited from Preschool through High School by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and has Ron and Goharik Gabriel Preschool (which serves students 2-5 years old), Elementary, Middle School and a college preparatory High School on the same campus. A major convenience for parents who may have children at multiple ages, Mesrobian offers a unique perspective and opportunity for students, teachers, and parents to grow together, and for students to get the attention and nurturing they need to be successful in school and in life. The High School curriculum is certified to the University of California. Mesrobian’s Alumni Network and Mentorship Program connects students with over five decades of alumni who have distinguished themselves in fields as diverse as education, science, business, medicine, music, law, dentistry, chiropractic, politics, art, marketing, engineering, veterinary medicine, and psychology. Follow the Mesrobian Facebook Page for latest updates.