Below is the text of the speech delivered by Varant Melkonian, the recipient of the 2012 ANCA-WR Legacy Award
Your Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian; board members of the ANCA-WR and the ANC; dear friends, guests and supporters
I am honored and humbled to stand before you today. The ANCA, the work they do, and their commitment to our Nation has always been near and dear to my heart.
The mission of the ANCA reflects our values, its struggle, our history, its objectives, our hopes for the future of our children.
Thank you Armenian National Committee of America.
It feels strange to me to accept an award for something that I believe is the responsibility of every Armenian and decent human being; the responsibility to do what is right, to do whatever we can to help our community and ensure that the rights of the weak and voiceless are not ignored.
In a way this responsibility is engrained in me. It’s in my DNA, I owe it all to my parents. MY late Grandfathere, father and my mother who is here tonight. thank you mom. I would also like to thank my wife and children, and my entire family who have constantly been my inspiration and have supported me in every way. I love you and I share this award with you.
Through its work, the ANC not only fights to achieve justice for the yet unpunished and unrepented crime of genocide, but also struggles to ensure that the rights of our people in Armenia, Kharabagh, Javakhk and the Diaspora are protected and safeguarded for future generations.
That is why I support the ANC and that is why I believe in the ANC and its mission.
Therefore, it is only right for me to share this award with all those ANC activists young and old, here tonight and everywhere, dedicating a part of themselves, who work tirelessly in pursuit of justice, who often put our cause before themselves, for Armenians and people of all nations who struggle for their basic human rights and the right of self determination. This award also belongs to you.
As many of you know, as a young man I arrived to this Great Nation armed with very little, but I was filled with drive, excitement and anticipation. I was committed to making a life for myself and taking advantage of every opportunity America had to offer.
Some time ago, I began to truly appreciate the similarities between the American Dream and the Armenian National Committee; people from different nations coming to this country, working together, succeeding, to contribute in the growth and development of America; just like all of us here tonight, Armenians and non-Armenian supporters alike, from all walks of life, with different backgrounds coming together to work towards a greater cause; each of us contributing the best we can for the sake of the Armenian Nation and humanity as a whole.
In no other place of the world can you find such unique integration of opportunity and sacrifice for the greater good.
In closing, I ask you to do all that you can to support the ANC. Whether you choose to support financially, morally or physically, it doesn’t matter, as long as you choose to support and support consistently.
God Bless the ANC and the Armenian Nation and God Bless America.