First Armenian Float Wins Presidential Award

PASEDENA, Calif. (A.W.)— The Armenian American Rose Float Association’s (AARFA) first float—dubbed “The Cradle of Civilization”—won the 2015 New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses’ President’s Award for most effective floral use and presentation. The theme of 126th Rose Parade was “inspiring stories,” and paid tribute to the people of the community who “loved unconditionally, persevered courageously, endured patiently, and accomplished much on behalf of others.”

The "Cradle of Civilization" (photo courtesy of Armenian American Rose Float Association)
The “Cradle of Civilization” (photo courtesy of Armenian American Rose Float Association)

The Cradle of Civilization float presented various aspects of the Armenian community: The art display featured a sculpture of an Armenian woman’s head with a traditional Armenian headdress, as well as an apricot and pomegranate tree. A bushel of grapes represented the earliest wine-making facility found in Armenia. A carpet-weaving machine, a traditional Armenian carpet, the Armenian symbol for “eternity,” and an arch were also featured, as representative of Armenian architecture from 4,500 years ago.

Prominent members of the Armenian-American community rode along with the float; they included U.S. Federal Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan, the first Armenian immigrant federal judge in the United States; former Pasadena Chief of Police Barney Melekian; Flora Dunaians, a Pasadena resident and founder of the Armenian International Women’s Association of Los Angeles; and Jill Simonian, author of the popular “Fab Mom” blog.

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Keri Kaligian

Keri Kaligian was born in Massachusetts and has lived in Watertown for most of his life. He is currently a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, working on his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering. Keri has interests in organic chemistry and mystery novels, and is a big fan of Agatha Christie's stories involving Hercule Poirot. He is currently interning at the Armenian Weekly.

55 Comments

  1. FANTASTIC!!!
    The President’s award was certainly well merited.
    Great job and a big thanks and hugs to those who prepared the float.
    It was simply beautiful and aspiring.
    Vart Adjemian

  2. Nice. But Id prefer for the Armenians to win the “war” and not the small ” battle”. And we both are possible then even better.

  3. Is there any float that does receive a disinfection of some sort?

    A cursory view will indicate that awards ranging from Most beautiful, Excellence in creative design, Most effective, Most outstanding, Best design etc., etc., etc., characterize each and every float and rightly so. It cost way too much to go without an award. The organizers of this float budgeted $300,000 and claimed to have raised more than half before the parade. After spending that kind of money for a single float, an award is due.

    What a lavish expenditure, even for those who can afford. What a nonsense to spend that kind of money to parade claiming being a cradle of civilization. What a waste amidst the prevailing needs and what a callous indifference this float portrays to such needs.

  4. This was awesome! Congratulation to the committee for the work well done! This is a good start. We should do this every year to tell the world who we are and talk about our contributions to mankind. Unfortunately, I believe the Turks did their dirty work again because this beautiful float was not shown during repeat broad-castings. Congratulation! and thank you. This made me very proud!

    • This is just a small stepping stone to show people of the world that Armenians can come together and create beautiful things. Stop thinking it’s about the other race or culture and just focus on one…Armenia.

  5. The Float was named ” The Cradle Of Civilization”??? Really????/

    I know more than a few Greeks, Greek Americans and independent scholars who would find fault with that title.

    Nevertheless… a Beautiful float symbolizing the unity and effort of the Armenian American community and worthy of the President’s Award.

    Great work!!!! But that name… Tsk!

  6. Thank you to Armenian Weekly and YouTube for showing this clip of the Armenian-American float! We tried to watch the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day, but didn’t catch all of it. Consequently, we missed it! And how proud we are that it achieved the President’s Award. Bravo to all those volunteers and funders who made this possible.

  7. Armenians are Rising with
    Their Colorful Roses…

    Not by guns …
    Not by bombs 
    Neither by Seljuk scimitars.

    Armenians Are Rising
    By their Arts 
    By their Khachkars,
    By their Songs
    By their chants
    Asking genociders
    To recognize their endless crimes . . . 

    They will parade 
    Carrying their Roses,
    To be the touch of their beauty
    Of their floating carts…

    Traveling from Pasadena
    Uniting with every human
    Who breathes for justice . . .
    To join them… from every Land 
    To reach Biblical Mount Ararat
    With the Novels of William Saroyan…!

    (C) Dr. Sylva Portoian 
    January 2, 2015

  8. In this shot pictured St. Echmiadzin church ❤️ Where I was baptized as an infant in our beloved Motherland !!!

  9. Congratulations! Shnorhavor! to Armenians for winning the Rose Bowl Parade Presidential award. The float did a great job of representing the country’s culture and heritage. I lived there for 27 months as a Peace Corps volunteer and gained great respect for a country often overlooked in the world. Great news to see some recognition of all Armenia has to offer.

  10. Why can’t people offer their congratulations without a… ‘BUT’ Congratulatio on the float and winning recognition for your efforts. One the beg8nning of a New Year I an one Armenian American who was proud to see by people and their accomplishments presented to the world in such an awesome manner. THANK YOU!

  11. TheGreek,
    “The Cradle Of Civilization”??? Really???? But that name… Tsk!”

    I can understand how western “history” being extremely Greco-centric in its teaching would influence people to think that Earth history starts and ends with Greece, but let us not confuse pre-history with recorded history, the latter being being why Greek history is emphasized so much. In fact Armenia really is the cradle of civilization because first and foremost that is where the evidence shows farming comes from, which is what allowed civilization to take root from the nomadic hunter-gatherer mentality. The oldest traces of civilization are also typically found on historic Armenian territory. That is also the reason why author David Marshall Land chose to name his book “Armenia: Cradle of Civilization” (you should get yourself a copy). And as the story goes, Noah’s ark landed on mount Ararat, and not on mount Olympus or mount Sinai… right?

  12. yes it was ,but i take offence to the term ‘”often nomadic people”when did we become nomads? at least the term the cradle of civilization was used before t those bastards used it.aka turks.

  13. The float was superb, but I did not appreciate the way the female commentator cut her colleague off in mid-sentence with the excuse that there were lot of other issues to cover. It was, at the least, dismissive and just rude. Who was that bitch?

  14. GREAT job! Well done. There’s a time and place for guns, and a time and place for art. Proud to say that we are great at both! We have always fought against overwhelming odds and won or survived! We are a constructive people, where our opponents have been destructive.

  15. Grotesque to say the least and diminishing to be turned into a “float” with religious undertones.
    Apparently no one heard the word “nomadic” as a description of armenians at :52.
    Perhaps Urartians were the real Armenians not people today who claim they are.

  16. The float was great to catch on the broadcast. Bravo to all involved. And thank you!. To the person’s comment above, being referred to as nomadic people isn’t all that offensive when understood in context of the past 100 years. Armenians are all over our planet for many reasons. Good and bad.

    • The word “Diaspora” is what happens when people of a country find themselves all over the world. Nomadic people have no country. Armenians have had a country for thousands of years and still do today last time I checked. “Nomadic” is offensive and the wrong word to use when describing Armenians. If we apply your logic, then Jews living outside of Israel are also Nomadic. Go tell that to a Jew and see how quick you get a letter from the ADL.

  17. As you all observed, the commentator in that video insultingly referred to Armenians as a “nomadic people” (a group of people who move around frequently from place to place without a permanent home). Is this an accurate description of the Armenian people? Certainly not! Furthermore, the Armenian people do happen to have a homeland in the form of two republics, Armenia and Artsakh. Anyway, going back to the term, “nomadic people,” this is one of the terms that America’s racist, ignorant society uses in referring to people from the Middle Eastern region, other parts of Asia, as well as Africa. As always, America’s society who wrongfully believes that it’s superior to all others, constantly tries to give the impression that foreign cultures are so much less than America’s materialistic, cultureless society.

    • Goes to show that most people don’t know who we Armenians are. We have a lot of work to do. The float was an interesting way to do it. Can’t figure out how they came up with “nomadic”. But then again, most people in media are idiots to begin with.

  18. Congratulations to the organizers! What a great accolade to achieve at one of the longest running American traditions. Excellent PR and a fitting entrance into 2015, the 100th commemoration of the Genocide. And contrary to some of the comments blogged here, the region of ancient Armenia is widely recognized as the Cradle of Civilization. No need to be humble about our heritage; it was paid for in blood.

    • Although it’s indeed true that Ancient Armenia really was the cradle of civilization, this is sadly unknown to most of the world. Even among many of the Armenians out there, they still continue to be unaware that their historic homeland was truly the cradle of civilization which furnished Ancient Mesopotamia with numerous luxuries.

  19. What does a stone tool from 350,000 years ago have to do with being a cradle of civilization? Modern humans, homo sapiens, were not around back then. Those tools are most likely from an ancestor species to all modern humans. It has no more connection to us Armenians than it does with Turks, Georgians or Azeris. I find these attempts at connections to national pride rather silly. It peaks my curiosity and even happy to hear such discoveries made in Armenia. That archaeologists from all over the world are working in Armenia is important and such discoveries put Armenian in the news. But lets not get carried away with discoveries made from 350,000 when no Armenian was alive.

    Besides, that 350,000 year old discovery is not the oldest known tools made by our human ancestors. That discovery has to do with a specific type of technique for creating stone tools. Discoveries of older tools made by our ancestors date back much more than 350,000 years.

    Cradle of civilization is a subjective term.

    • there you go again: can’t help your self throwing dirt on a festive occasion, can you ?

      so how’s your search going for that Dr. Lemkin video that you and your Turkophile friends have been looking for ?

    • So what do stone tools from 350,000 have to do with being the cradle of civilization? I was pointing out that particular discovery has nothing to do with such a claim. There was no civilization back then and stone tools older than that have been found all over the world.

  20. Random,

    “Cradle of civilization is a subjective term.” It seems that you’re trying to suggest that I, as well as other Armenians are falsely classifying Ancient Armenia as being the cradle of civilization based on personal feelings. On the contrary, there is a great deal of archaeological evidence today, which shows the cradle of civilization to be Ancient Armenia. Make sure to read those two articles which I included in my comment from January 3, 2015 at 5:28 am.

    • Yerevanian,

      Those were interesting links, but panarmenian.net and the Armenian Travel Bureau are not at the forefront of archeological and scientific research.

      There is some very good research going on in Armenia and I look forward to more discoveries but we’ll have to let the science of archeology to be practiced by archeologists.

    • {“panarmenian.net and the Armenian Travel Bureau are not at the forefront of archeological and scientific research.”}

      And Wikipedia is ?

    • You got me there ;)

      I would say that Wikipedia is only slightly better. Depending on the topic they do a decent job of summarizing a subject, or do a pretty poor job. A lot of times it’s pretty evident if it’s decent or poor.

      The wiki page on “Cradle of civilization” covered material not discussed here. Including the idea that there could be multiple cradles of civilization arising at different places in the world. So Armenia could be *a* cradle of civilization among others. So I figured it would be a good supplement to the discussion.

    • “So Armenia could be a cradle of civilization among others.” That’s rather insulting to only suggest a possibility of Ancient Armenia being a cradle of civilization among others. On the contrary, there’s plenty of evidence which shows Ancient Armenia to be the cradle of civilization.

  21. Here’s a wikipedia article on “Cradle of civilization”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cradle_of_civilization

    It has many references and discusses more on this subject than in these threads. Armenia is mentioned but does not elaborate more unfortunately.

    Archaeology is an ongoing process with new discoveries being made all the time. The concept of “Cradle of civilization” is not easy to pin down since there are several criteria to define civilization. Expect more discoveries and refinement of our understanding of human history as more sites are dug up and more research is done.

    One thing to take into account is, were there more than one cradle of civilization? What we define as civilization could have started in more than one place independently. Think of North and South America for example, which were cut off from the middle east and Asia.

    Armenia may yet be one of those cradles.

    • When did I ever say that the Armenian travel bureau and panarmenian news website are at the forefront of archaeological and scientific research? In those two articles, they were just informing readers about archaeological discoveries made in Armenia which show it to be the cradle of civilization. Furthermore, I’ve come across these same exact details in other sources as well. In regard to Wikipedia, that’s certainly not the kind of place to do research on the “cradle of civilization.” However, they do have great maps.

      “Archaeology is an ongoing process with new discoveries being made all the time.” Yes, that’s true; and because of that, I look forward to more archaeological discoveries about Ancient Armenia being the cradle of civilization.

    • “Yes, of course, Wikipedia is “…at the forefront of archeological and scientific research.””

      That was actually funny :)

      We could use some humor around here.

  22. (Random Armenian // January 11, 2015 at 1:53 pm //)

    {“So what do stone tools from 350,000 have to do with being the cradle of civilization? I was pointing out that particular discovery has nothing to do with such a claim. There was no civilization back then and stone tools older than that have been found all over the world.”}

    Exactly: you proved my point by that passage.

    Of the 10 things listed in the link, you chose that particular discovery to throw up dust and obscure the Armenian contributions.
    Why didn’t you choose any of the others to give due praise to Armenians ? Do those others have any connection to something called “Civilization” ? Yes or No.
    You didn’t, because you are Turkophile, your biases and sympathies are not with Armenia: you have a bias against things Armenian; you can’t help it.

    Why didn’t you give due credit to Armenia for any of the following ?

     Sky Observatory – 7,500 years old
     Wagons – 4,000 years old
     Skirt – 5,900 years old
     Wine-Making Facility – 6,100 years old
     Metal Smelting Foundry – 6,000 years old
     Depictions of Agriculture – 7,500 years old
     War Horses – 4,500 years old

    Let me re-enforce my observation that you are as I say you are by pasting a passage from a compatriot, [Hagop D]:

    {Random….As for your posts and the pattern I am noticing: somehow, it seems that you are eager to place Armenian issues to the highest most impeccable standards with no wiggle room at all, but don’t display the same passion, in fact you are absent altogether, when it comes to questionable and sometimes even blatant lies by others who post regarding their own ethnicities and cultures. Take for example your question in the other thread, “what do you mean by western values?”, it has dawned on me, what ‘Armenian’ who knows anything about being Armenian at all or who has grown up as one, would ask such an odd question? And when it is answered effectively, proceeds to change the subject by going off on a tangent. It just doesn’t make sense to me, and I doubt your claimed sincerity here, and I think your posts are disingenuous with suspicious motives behind them. But of course, this is just my opinion and not Lemkin’s.} (Hagop D // June 20, 2014 at 1:08 pm //)(turkish-denialists…-australian-parliament thread).

    Q.E.D.

    • Avery,

      I didn’t say anything about the others because I did not see a problem with them. I don’t have to make a thorough comment on everything, specially if others make the point before me and more comments from me would be redundant.

      This is a discussion thread on the Internet, not academic publication with protocols and such. I can pick and choose whatever point I want to. And that does not imply I am against other points I ignore.

      However I did see the 350,000 yo stone tools comment rather silly, considering they were probably made by a pre homo-sapiens human species. So figured I make a comment about it.

      As for your last quoted paragraph, why should we not hold ourselves to a higher standard? That’s the best way to counter AG denialism. Having the better facts and explaining them better than our opponents is the best way to make the world understand.

      As for “but don’t display the same passion, in fact you are absent altogether, when it comes to questionable and sometimes even blatant lies by others who post regarding their own ethnicities and cultures.”

      It’s not worth responding to all the idiots that come here with hate to trash us. Seriously, why should I respond to a Turk filled with hate by the state? The only reason to respond is to make an example of the denialist arguments they spew to others reading it.

      If the truth is behind you, but you can’t argue and explain well, you’re not going to convince others.

      I’ve stumbled quite a bit myself when trying to explain my thoughts.

    • Avery, “Exactly: you proved my point by that passage.

      Of the 10 things listed in the link, you chose that particular discovery to throw up dust and obscure the Armenian contributions.”

      You posted a link about that 350,000 yo stone tool to show that Armenia is the cradle of civilization. I gave my reasons on why that particular evidence, the stone tools, doesn’t make sense. Do you have anything to say about the points I made regarding the stone tools? You seem to be ignoring them by accusing me of throwing dirt.

      “… and obscure the Armenian contributions.”
      A stone tool from 350,000 years ago cannot be an Armenian contribution. Are you claiming that Armenians from 350,000 years ago made them?

    • “You didn’t, because you are Turkophile, your biases and sympathies are not with Armenia: you have a bias against things Armenian; you can’t help it.”

      You keep trying to explain me away as a Turkophile and anti-Armenian. Attacking someone as liking the enemy more is a sign that person can’t deal with criticism well.

      What I can’t help is being annoyed when promoting and defending Armenian causes with inaccurate wording or things that don’t make sense. For example, the 350,000 yo stone tools. What the heck to they have to do with Armenians when those tools were made, there was no civilization and modern humans (ie. homo sapiens, ie. the species all of humanity belongs to?).

      What’s wrong with pointing such things out and discussing them? We all need to have a deep understanding of our history so we can better promote and defend it.

  23. Here’s another educational article in regard to Ancient Armenia being the cradle of civilization:
    http://www.welcomearmenia.com/armenia/cradle_of_civilization

    “Scientific researches, archaeological findings, old cuneiform inscriptions, ancient maps and even the Holy Bible provide lots of sound evidences that the Armenian Highland is the cradle of civilization.”

    “Armenians have survived and preserved their national identity, unlike many other ancient nations like the Sumerians, Acadians who once played a major role on this earth, but have disappeared long ago. Today, the Armenians are one of the very few nations, who have existed from the beginning of civilization, created by their ancestors.”

  24. I do not know who ” Random Armenian” and I really and honestly do not care.
    Advice to Avery and Yeravanian. You should not dignify his absurd and poisonous comments with an answer.
    Sometimes it is better to let barking dogs alone. They simply make noise.
    Vart Adjemian

    • Vart:

      I appreciate the advice.
      And I know you mean well.

      However, I disagree with the premise.
      Similar advice has been given to me by other well-meaning compatriots before. I don’t mind explaining again why I counter-post @AW and various other online publications.

      If it is an occasional, random poster, I usually ignore them: they come and go.
      But if an individual is a frequent, persistent poster, then I feel his/her Anti-Armenian misinformation, disinformation, dirt,…. must be challenged.
      Reason is very simple: if you do not challenge a lie, it will eventually become a ‘fact’ in people’s mind.

      For every poster @AW, there are 1000s who just read ArmenianWeekly. Many have only a very hazy idea of the subjects being discussed.
      Many are misinformed. Many have preconceived notions.
      My purpose for writing the counter-post is not to educate the Anti-Armenian poster: I don’t know them personally of course, but have a fair idea what their mindset is: they don’t come to AW to be educated; they come here to spread lies.
      My purpose is to appeal to the ‘jury’, if you will: the neutral readers who will read both posts and make up their minds.
      Also, since I have learned much from other posters @AW, hopefully my comments will inspire at least some of our compatriots to become more involved in The Cause.

      Again, thanks for your kind thoughts on this matter.

  25. Avery,
    Do you think there is any hope at all for ‘Random Armenian’?

    I noticed sometimes he/she makes correct statements and pro-Armenian comments while other times sounds like a typical Turk or Turkophile propagandist, which of course makes one wonder if the pro statements are just a setup to gain acceptance by an audience so that later the more destructive comments get ‘legitimized’. There are several Armenians here making good informative comments so if ‘Random Armenian’ does end up being Armenian, hopefully he/she will see the light one day.

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