On Friday morning, April 22, North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi welcomed the gathering outside of the town hall to kick-off the annual flag raising ceremony. He then introduced the emcee, Town Council President Dino Autiello.
Councilman Autiello asked Father Kapriel Nazarian of Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church and a town resident, to offer the opening prayer.
Lt. Governor Daniel McKee, Treasurer Seth Magaziner, and former elected officers A. Ralph Mollis and Aram Garabedian delivered remarks.
A number of former honorees were present, as well as town officials including Alice Brady of the Town Council.
Armenian National Committee of Rhode Island (ANC-RI) member Unger Steve Elmasian offered his remarks, speaking about the failure of the Turkish government to recognize the crimes committed in the early part of the last century, the current situation in Artsakh, and the significance of the message of Pope Francis last year, which had infuriated the Turkish government.
Mayor Lombardi, who has proven to be a great friend of the Armenian community, then shared his thoughts on the importance of recognizing this crime against humanity as genocide by all elected officials from local levels to our nation’s capital. Lombardi spoke of the Armenians in his town that have contributed to making North Providence a better place. He then presented the citation to Suzanne Simonian, a long-time resident of the town.
A closing prayer was offered by Pastor Hagop Manjelikian of the Armenian Evangelical Church. Arch Priest Gomidas Baghsarian of Sts. Vartanantz Church was present as well.