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
State Senator Raptakis in Rhode Island's district #33 (Coventry, East & West Greenwich). Please like the Senator on Facebook.