Whitinsville breaks ground for new Armenian Heritage Monument

Pictured from left to right State Rep. David K. Muradian, Jr., Timothy Wickstrom, Board chair of UniBank, Michael Welch, CEO of UniBank, Jim Tusino, Guaranteed Builders Inc., Charles Ampagoomian, Jr., Northbridge Board of Selectmen member, Russell Collins, Northbridge Board of Selectmen chair, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Rev. Fr. Aram Stepanian and Rev. Fr. Mikael Der Kosrofian (Photo: Danold Ampagoomian)

WHITINSVILLE, Mass.—Like many things, the Armenian Heritage Monument in Whitinsville started as a single thought: how great it would be to come together every Memorial Day to remember, honor and pray for the souls of the immigrants who survived the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and were welcomed to Whitinsville to build new lives.  

They suffered, they sacrificed and they survived making today possible for Armenian Americans who now enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in this great state and country we all call home. Many worked in the Whitin Machine Works and were an integral part of the labor pool, helping to build the local economy.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Armenian Heritage Monument was held on Tuesday, April 18 at Pine Grove Cemetery in Whitinsville. Highlighting the event was the site blessing by His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy of US, joined by Rev. Fr. Mikael Der Kosrofian and Rev. Fr. Aram Stepanian of Soorp Asdvadzadzin Armenian Apostolic Church.

Rev. Fr. Aram Stepanian, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian and Rev. Fr. Mikael Der Kosrofian during the site blessing for the monument (Photo: Danold Ampagoomian)

“We are blessed for having a shared vision with community supporters and leaders for this monument to be erected in a special place where the majority of Armenians from Whitinsville have been laid to rest,” stated Rev. Fr. Der Kosrofian.

This monument will consist of a khachkar (stone cross) from Armenia which will be placed in the center and embraced by three pillars. These pillars represent the Holy Trinity, and on each will be engraved the forget-me-not flower, expressing the theme of eternal remembrance. The base of each pillar will be rough cut to represent the hardships and suffering of our survivors. As the pillars ascend, the roughness will transform into a smooth finish, symbolizing the life we enjoy today.

Distinguished members of the community State Rep. David K. Muradian (9th Worcester District), UniBank CEO Michael Welch and Board chair Timothy Wickstrom, Northbridge Board of Selectmen chair Russell Collins and member Charles Ampagoomian, Jr., and Jim Tusino of Guaranteed Builders, Inc. were also in attendance.

Monument watercolor rendering by Yeva Der Kosrofian
Victoria Atamian Waterman

Victoria Atamian Waterman

Victoria Atamian Waterman is a writer born in Rhode Island. Growing up in an immigrant, bilingual, multi-generational home with survivors of the Armenian Genocide has shaped the storyteller she has become. She is a trustee of Soorp Asdvadzadzin Armenian Apostolic Church and chair of the Armenian Heritage Monument in Whitinsville, MA. She is the author of "Who She Left Behind."
Victoria Atamian Waterman

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1 Comment

  1. I am a first-generation Armenian/American born in Whitinsville to survivors of the Armenian Genocide. My father, Mooshek Ovian, my grandmother, Anna Ovian, and many other family members, also survivors, are buried in Pine Grove Cemetery. My dad started working at Whitin Machine Works as a tool maker after graduating from the eighth grade at the age of fourteen and worked there until he retired at the age of 65. I grew up hearing firsthand about the atrocities perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks…something I will never forget. I look forward to visiting this sacred monument every Memorial Day. Thank you to all who had a part in its creation.

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