RADNOR, Penn. – The Armenian Sisters Academy held its annual Armenian Genocide Commemoration on Friday, April 23. Due to the pandemic, attendance was restricted to students, faculty, staff and Philadelphia’s Armenian clergy. The outdoor program was streamed live via Facebook to the hundreds of parents, grandparents, relatives, alumni and community members who filled the Academy’s Hovsepian Activity Center in years prior.
This year, the Academy was honored to have the participation of Pennsylvania State Senator Amanda Cappelletti. Students greeted the senator with the traditional salt and bread welcome.
“Today, we remember the lives of our 1.5 million martyrs who endured torture, suffering and death, but now live in heaven with Christ. In light of what happened this past year in Artsakh, this commemorative tribute is especially relevant not only for our martyrs but for all Armenian people who lost their lives fighting for justice. We nearly witnessed another Genocide,” stated Armenian Sisters Academy Principal Sister Emma Mousseyan in her opening remarks. “We are proud to be descendants of such heroic people. We are proud to be Armenian, especially Armenian Christians. We live and thrive wherever we are,” she added.
Following the procession to the khachkar to place carnations and lay a wreath, students from the Montessori Pre-K through eighth-grade recited poems, including Paruyr Sevak’s famous poem We Are Few, But We Are Armenians. The eighth-grade girls performed a beautiful dance choreographed to Ara Gevorkyan’s rendition of Der Voghormia.
In her remarks, Cappelletti thanked the Academy for the honor of participating in the program, acknowledging that “the tragedy of the Armenian Genocide has many layers.” In addition to the horrific loss of life, the senator noted that more importantly is the “silent tragedy and the unwillingness of many elected officials and political leaders to even acknowledge this history.”
“I mourn your losses with you but am honored to continue the tradition of introducing a resolution recognizing April 24 as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. I am proud to stand here with you as we together take on the burden of remembering tragedies like this and to help stop them from ever happening again,” she added. Cappelletti recently introduced a resolution commemorating the Genocide and acknowledging Artsakh’s right to self-determination.
Clergy members representing Philadelphia’s five Armenian churches concluded the program with prayers and the singing of Hayr Mer.