By Tamar Samuelian
FORT LEE, N.J. (A.W.)—On the rainy afternoon of April 22, the Homenetmen scouts of New Jersey, representatives of Hamazkayin Armenian Cultural and Educational Society’s N.J. chapter, Sts. Vartanantz Nareg Saturday School students, council members, Fort Lee firefighters, policemen, and guests gathered at the Fort Lee Municipal building to raise the Armenian Flag in honor of the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire.
This commemorative event was organized by Armenian National Committee (ANC) and directed by Hasmig Deirkrikorian-Aprahamian, co-chair of Hamazkayin regional.
The program was concise, yet multifaceted. The ceremony began with Very Reverend Father Vazken Karayan of Holy Cross Church in Union City, who prayed for peace and prosperity for all Armenians. Nayri Diratsoian led the singing of “God Bless America,” followed by Niree Kaprielian who sang the Armenian National Anthem while the Armenian flag was raised. Mr. James Sahagian relayed a message on behalf of the ANC. He stated that Armenians should “continue to fight for recognition, reparations from Turkey, and for human rights for all people.”
Although the rain became stronger and stronger throughout the event, the program went on. Nairi Diratsouian recited a poem by Siamanto entitled “The Cry of the Land,” translated into English by playwright Dr. Herand Markarian. Tamar Samuelian, played “Giligia” on flute. The piece so moved the audience that they began singing along.
The program concluded with remarks by Fort Lee Mayor, Mr. Mark Sokolich. Sokolich stated that “Armenians are an indispensable part of our day-to-day lives.” He issued a proclamation naming April 24 the official day of Armenian Genocide Commemoration, which was handed to a veteran firefighter and Fort Lee resident, Mr. Krikor Khatchadurian, without whose efforts the event would not have taken place.
Thank you to the town of Fort Lee for supporting the Armenian community and the Armenian cause.