WATERTOWN, Mass.—Dozens of members from the Armenian community of Greater Boston came together outside St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church on Sunday evening to commemorate the martyrs who sacrificed their lives protecting the homeland during the 2020 Artsakh War.
A recurring theme of the evening was hope and perseverance amidst times of fear and uncertainty. “It is our shared honor and duty to serve our country, and we should remember those we have lost with this sense of honor,” said Meg Babikian, a member of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Greater Boston Senior Executive.
The program, organized by the AYF Greater Boston “Nejdeh” Senior Chapter, also featured remarks by Knar Bedian of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) “Sardarabad” Gomideh and a solemn duduk performance by AYF member and musician Sam Sjostedt.
“We’re also here to remember those who are still missing, those who are still being held captive and still being tortured by Aliyev’s regime and those who are being tried as terrorists for the crime of being Armenian and living on our ancestral lands,” said Bedian.
After a prayer, members of the Senior Executive lit candles upon the steps of the church and dispersed into the crowd, lighting the remaining candles of attendees. The communal lighting of the candles emphasized the notion of strength in unity and allowed participants an important moment of reflection.
As Sjostedt played Komitas’ “Dle Yaman,” “Chinar Es” and “Oror,” candles kept getting blown out by relentless wind gusts across Artsakh Street. Nevertheless, attendees made sure to help each other immediately light the candles again, symbolizing, in a way, the persistence of the Armenian people—the same Armenian people that Turkey, and more recently Azerbaijan, have been trying to eradicate from the face of this earth; trying to blow their flame out, too foolish to realize it is eternal.