Remembering activist Aram Jeknavorian and the Lowell ARF’s 127th anniversary

127th anniversary celebration of the ARF Lowell “Aharonian” Gomideh

CHELMSFORD, Mass. The Lowell “Aharonian” Gomideh of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the first ARF branch established in North America, held the 127th anniversary celebration of its founding on Saturday, March 12.

The event was held at the Kazanjian Memorial Pavilion of Sts. Vartanantz Church and was dedicated to the memory of ARF member Aram Jeknavorian.

Jeknavorian was a dedicated 50-year member of the ARF, an outstanding activist, a community leader, a devoted and loving father, grandfather, brother and friend. He passed away in February 2021.

Master of Ceremonies Mimi Parseghian welcomed the gathering and invited Rev. Father Stepan Baljian of St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church and Rev. Father Vart Gyozalyan of the Armenian Apostolic Church at High Pointe to offer the invocation.

Sevan Dulgarian, a talented local vocalist, led the gathering in the singing of the American and Armenian national anthems.

One of the highlights of the evening was a narrated slide presentation by Jeknavorian’s youngest brother Ara, who is co-chair of the Merrimack Valley Armenian National Committee (ANC). Ara Jeknavorian shared some of the many examples of his brother’s dedicated service to the ARF, ANC and Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church community. Aram Jekvanorian was a recipient of the prestigious Vahan Cardashian Award of the ANCA-Eastern Region.

Honoring Aram Jeknavorian at the 127th anniversary celebration of the ARF Lowell “Aharonian” Gomideh

Following this emotional and memorable reflection, Gomideh chair Greg Minasian offered a few words on behalf of the Lowell Gomideh. He also awarded 50-year ARF member certificates to Armen Jeknavorian and John Dagdigian, whose award was accepted by his brother Joe. 

In his younger days, Aram Jeknavorian was a member of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), where he served on the Central Executive, among other committees. Dagdigian recounted his personal journey, first joining the AYF and then the ARF, and paid tribute to his mentor and friend Aram. Joe expressed his eternal gratitude for Aram’s valuable influence on his Armenian life.

Steve Mesrobian, ARF Central Committee’s liaison to the Lowell Gomideh, recalled his personal interactions with unger Aram and emphasized the positive energy that he brought to all Armenian activities. Mesrobian also discussed the current activities of the ARF internationally and emphasized the organization’s devotion to the Armenian nation.

Dulgarian then performed three traditional and patriotic songs in memory of unger Aram. Those in attendance expressed appreciation toward the quality of her singing voice and her interpretation of the songs.

Unger Aram was known in Greater Lowell for his civic participation in not only Armenian organizations, but also the entire community. Lowell City Councilwoman Rita Mercier, a longtime supporter of Armenian concerns, worked with Aram on a number of issues that affected Armenians in Greater Lowell. She expressed her admiration and appreciation of Aram’s public service to his community.

At the conclusion of her speech, she presented Aram’s son with a proclamation issued by the City of Lowell in honor of Aram’s life and service.

Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, a well-known and respected elected Armenian-American official, touched on Aram’s involvement not only within the ARF, but also within his church community and Armenian-American veterans. Koutoujian urged those in attendance to honor Aram’s legacy and carry on his work.

Congresswoman Lori Trahan, who could not attend because of her work on budget-related issues in Washington, sent a video address. Trahan, who has received a grade of A+ from the ANCA, sent a congressional citation memorializing Aram, along with an American flag—presented to his son during the event—that had flown over the US Capitol to honor Aram’s military service during the Vietnam War.

The highly emotional and gratifying evening concluded with a benediction by Rev. Father Khachatur Kesablyan of Sts. Vartanantz Church of Chelmsford. Der Khachatur, who was Aram’s pastor, paid tribute, at length, to Aram’s volunteer spirit in all church activities and the pleasure Aram experienced when introducing his grandchildren to the church and participating in church events with them.

Appreciation was extended to the Lowell Armenian Relief Society (ARS) for preparing the dinner served to attendees during the event.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.

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