VAN NUYS–More than 20,000 community members took part in the 27th annual Homenetmen Navasartian Games closing ceremonies Sunday at Birmingham High School and watched as more than 3,000 athletes and scouts marched during the finale parade under the honorary presidency of Alber Shahinian–who agreed to the title honoring the memory of her late wife Astghig. This year’s ceremonies were dedicated to the victims and survivors of the Sept. 11 tragedy.
Homenetmen members who also serve in the US Armed Forces entered the field with the US flag and in a ceremonial military guard presented the Stars & Stripes to the chairman of the Homenetmen Regional Executive Manuel Marselian.
The weekend-long festivities–which began Wednesday evening and concluded Sunday–drew a large cross-section of the community that gathered around the Homenetmen banner to mark the 4th of July holiday weekend.
Present at the closing ceremonies were Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian–chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Central Committee of Western US Viken Yacoubian–chairman of the ARF Central Committee of Lebanon Hovig Mekhitarian–whose visit to Los Angeles coincided with the closing ceremonies–Homenetmen Central Executive vice-chairman Jirayr Sarkisian and Central Executive member Koko Balian–as well as representatives from the regional executives of the Armenian Relief Society and Hamazkayin.
Among the political officials attending the closing ceremonies were State Senator Jack Scott–State Assemblywoman Carol Liu–Glendale Mayor Rafi Manoukian–Glendale City Councilmembers Frank Quintero and Dave Weaver–Los Angeles City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel’s representative Nairi Meserlian–LA Councilmember Dennis Zine–LA Councilmember Eric Garcetti’s representative Baidzar Thomassian–LA Councilmember Tom Labonge’s representative Adrin Nazarian–City of Duarte Mayor pro-tem George Chapjian–Glendale Unified School district Board member Greg Krikorian–Glendale Community College Board member Dr. Armine Hacopian–State Assembly candidate Steve Samuelian and LA County Human Relations Commission leader Adrian Dove.
During the closing ceremonies program–two long-time athletes were honored for their years of service to the community and the organization. Sossi Mihranian-Der Ohanessian and Apo Nenedjan were awarded a special plaque honoring their service–while Garo Kazandjian was named Exemplary Homenetmen member of 2000.
The Regional Executive also presented its annual Kevork Andonian and Zareh Deordulian scholarships to Arpy Javalakian–Christopher Vartanian–Tedig Grigorian and Norik Tahmassian.
After the conclusion of the march–the crowd stayed around to enjoy the weekend-long festival–which culminated in a performance by Harut Pamboukjian.