Images and Story by Stephen Elmasian, Courtesy of RI State Senator David Tikoian
"A nice gathering of people assembled around Armenian Heritage Park this morning under a bright sunny sky to honor those that first arrived here in Rhode Island and especially the old mill section of Providence's Smith Hill.
Reverend Father Kapriel Nazarian and Arch Priest Gomidas Baghsarian, both of Sts. Vartanantz Church, provided the spiritual guidance and Joanne Mouradjian sang the appropriate songs. The Homenetmen scouts served as the honor guard and sang "Mer Hairenik". State Senators David Tikoian and Leonidas Raptakis took turns remembering the significance of events such as these on Memorial Day and all year long.
Sincerest appreciation to Martha Aramian who had this foresight (and used her personal resources) to have this monument remain a tribute to those who were so very challenged. Some went back to fight with the French as Gamavors (Volunteers). Many sent their first born to fight in World War 2. This was their new Armenia. Their children went on to become doctors and lawyers, engineers and teachers, judges and politicians. They were law-abiding citizens, thrilled to have a second chance at life.
As we face another ethnic cleansing today in Artsakh, how many of these poor people who have been under an illegal blockade since before Christmas would go on some day to greatness. We may never know. They came from Palou and Sepastia, from Kharpet and Dickrangert, from Trebizond on the Black Sea and Smyrna on the Mediterranean. The Aramian, Ragan and Micolucci families ask for your prayers for their gravely ill dear cousin Dianne Apkarian, sister of Cheryl who usually rings the bell after each name is read. We read all of the names that appear here. These women and men are the reason many of us even exist. Stop by the next time you are in the area and read the names on the granite stones. These people, many of whom marched through the Syrian Desert, leaving their newborns and sick and elderly behind, put down a strong foundation for us to build on.
Also present was the honorable Aram Garabedian, Smith Hill native, who has championed our causes throughout his entire life. Paul Bedrosian served as the sound technician. Refreshments followed nearby in the Taco Bell parking lot." Article by and thanks to, Steve Elmasian, Men's Club of Sts. Vartanantz Church
The National Herald - “This resolution pays tribute to the survivors of this atrocious period, as well as their descendants, who have made countless contributions to the enrichment of our culture and our way of life here in the Ocean State and who stand as inspirations to oppressed people around the world. May we never forget the brutality the Pontian Greeks experienced at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, and may we learn the hard lessons from the past, the history of the Pontian Genocide, so all genocides never happen again,” said Senator Raptakis. For more information from The National Herald click/tap here. For the the Providence Journal article click/tap here.
Rhode Island State Senator Lou Raptakis (right) alone with Nicole Malliotakis (center) of Staten Island and Wyoming State Senator Stephen Pappas (left) joined Greek-American legislators making an official visit to Greece. This delegation attended the Thessaloniki International Fair at which the United States of America was this year’s honored country. More about this event from Kings County Politics click/tap here.
STATE HOUSE – The anniversary of Greek Independence Day will be celebrated at the State House on Tuesday, March 25.
This will be the 22nd consecutive year that festivities honoring Greek Independence Day, March 25, have been held at the State House under the sponsorship of Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich).
The State House event recognizing the 193rd anniversary of Greek Independence Day will begin with a presentation in the Senate chamber at 4 p.m. that will include an invocation by the Rev. Dr. Philip Zymaris of Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Pawtucket.
State Senator Raptakis in Rhode Island's district #33 (Coventry, East & West Greenwich). Please like the Senator on Facebook.