Marchers remember Armenian Genocide

  • Julia Gabrielyan of Springfield, left, and her daughter Anahit Gabrielyan, 5, join others April 24, 2018 in a solemn march from the E.J. Gare Parking Garage to Memorial Hall in memory of the Armenian genocide of 1915. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz, center, joins others Tuesday in the march downtown in memory of the Armenian genocide of 1915. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Serena Smith of Florence, whose mother was Armenian, front left, and her daughter Madeline Blanchette of Northampton and son-in-law Peter Blanchette observe a silence Tuesday following a solemn march from the E.J. Gare parking garage to Memorial Hall in memory of the Armenian genocide of 1915. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Sevak and Julia Gabrielyan of Springfield, who are both Armenian, their daughter Anahit Gabrielyan, 5, and Luke Lombard, 14, of Northampton, join others April 24, 2018 in a solemn march from the E.J. Gare Parking Garage to Memorial Hall in memory of the Armenian genocide of 1915. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Papken Hartunian of Springfield, center, leads others April 24, 2018 in a solemn march from the E.J. Gare Parking Garage to Memorial Hall in memory of the Armenian genocide of 1915. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Serena Smith of Florence, whose mother was Armenian, front left, her son-in-law Peter Blanchette and daughter Madeline Blanchette, both of Northampton, and Day Walters of Springfield, right, observe a silence April 24, 2018 following a solemn march from the E.J. Gare Parking Garage to Memorial Hall in memory of the Armenian genocide of 1915. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

For the Gazette
Published: 4/25/2018 12:00:48 AM

NORTHAMPTON — Roughly 50 people, many dressed in black and carrying red, blue and orange flags, marched in a solemn, silent procession through downtown Northampton Tuesday evening on the 103rd anniversary of the start of the Armenian genocide.

Andrea Ayvazian, who has organized a commemoration for “Armenian Martyrs’ Day” in Northampton with her sister Gina for the past 22 years, said the demonstration was meant to remember and honor the estimated 1.5 million Armenians who lost their lives, as well as demand recognition of the genocide.

The United States government has never formally recognized the Armenian genocide, nor has the government of Turkey, which most historians believe carried out the genocide in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire.

“A forgotten genocide, an unrecognized genocide, is a successful genocide,” Gina Ayvazian said during remarks outside Memorial Hall at the conclusion of the march.

Mayor David Narkewicz participated in the march, carrying an Armenian flag in solidarity.

“I think it’s important to call attention to this and to call upon the world to recognize what happened,” he said before the procession.

Narkewicz also read a formal proclamation after the march declaring April 24 to be Armenian Martyrs’ Day in Northampton.

“I urge all citizens of the city … to take cognizance of this event and participate fittingly in its obedience,” he said.

Andrea Ayvazian said she was moved by the proclamation, and called Narkewicz “a great ally of the Armenian community.”

“It’s recognition we’ve craved for a long time,” she said.

The march began outside the E.J. Gare parking garage and ended at Memorial Hall, where an Armenian flag flew at half-staff below the American flag.

The march was added to the commemoration in recent years as a way to represent and remember the “death marches” that Armenians were subjected to during the genocide, Andrea Ayvazian said.

In addition to Narkewicz’s proclamation, a number of speakers shared remarks and other presentations after the march.

Kapkem Hartuniam, a math teacher of Armenian descent at Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical Academy in Springfield, sang the country’s national anthem.

Sevak Shmavonyan, a pastor at St. Mark Armenian church in Springfield, sang the Lord’s prayer in Armenian.

Luke Lombard, an eighth-grader at Wilbraham and Monson Academy, also shared remarks.

Lombard said he is not Armenian, but was inspired to attend the commemoration after doing a project about the genocide in his social studies class.

“I would have never known this sad truth if not for my teacher,” he said. “I hope I have honored your ancestors by sharing this story.”

Andrea Ayvazian, who’s on the ministerial team at Alden Baptist Church in Springfield, concluded the commemoration with a closing prayer.

“The Armenian martyrs … live within us now. We carry their gifts and talents, their beliefs and bravery, their fortitude and faith. Those qualities, echoing through the decades, live within us now,” she said.


Jobs



Support Local Journalism


Subscribe to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, your leading source for news in the Pioneer Valley.


Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy