It is a Saturday afternoon in 1969 in Toronto. I am driving to the Community Center on Dupont Street for the AYF Juniors’ weekly meeting. I am the Varitch unger.
Upon arrival I discover that I forgot my notes for the day’s topic at home. I come up with the following question to keep the young ones busy:
If you were not born Armenian, to which nation would you have liked to belong to, and why?
There were many good answers, but never did I expect to hear this:
“I would have liked to be Armenian because many nations came and disappeared but Armenia is still here today. We suffered occupation, genocide, and still the Turks could not annihilate us. We are the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion in the year 301 AD. We have Gomidas, Aram Khatchadourian, and Charles Aznavour.”
This was hardly the answer I expected to hear from a 12-year-old girl of the 1960’s. I was speechless. When I asked her, “How do you know all this?”, the answer was, “My parents.”
Today, this 12-year-old is a grandparent. She married an Armenian, and their children attended and graduated from Armenian schools, and are involved in community activities.
Today, we have a new generation of famous Armenians who are too numerous to list here. Today, our third republic is 24 years young; it is far from being perfect, but it is ours.
As long as there are Armenian parents who teach their 12-year-olds our history, and as long as there are 12-year-olds who when they become parents take it upon themselves to remind their children who we are, we will celebrate many more September 21’s.