GLENDALE–A walkathon and cultural festival–organized by the Steering Committee for the Tenth Anniversary of the Karabakh Struggle–was held on Sunday to mark the tenth anniversary of the Karabakh liberation struggle. The event–which following the walkathon culminated at Verdugo Park in Glendale–attracted more than 6000 participants.
The official ceremony began with a flag ceremony performed by the Homenetmen La Crescenta "Shant" Chapter–with the participation of the Homenetmen Western Regional Marching Band. The national anthems of the US–Armenia and Karabakh were performed by Garen Gharibian. Following opening remarks–on behalf of the Steering Committee–by Mistress of Ceremonies Lilit Baghdassarian–the walkathon began at 10 am. More than 2000 participants dawning Karabakh t-shirts walked along main boulevards in Glendale.
The cultural program following the walkathon began with remarks by Karabakh Army officer and Deputy Commander of the Martuni Battalion Artur Mosissian who emphasized that Karabakh is the founding stone of the future free–independent and united Armenia.
Karabakh freedom fighter Hrant Toumassian–currently in the US undergoing treatment for paralyzing wounds sustained on the battlefield in 1992–stressed that the struggle for the liberation of Karabakh is a struggle for the entire Armenian nation. Accompanying Toumassian–was Veronica Achigeozian–the widow of martyred freedom fighter Simon Achigeozian. She also delivered a short statement.
California Assemblyman Scott Wildman congratulated the Armenian nation on the movement’s anniversary and pledged continuous support of Nagorno-Karabakh. The California legislator ended his speech with the Armenian words "Getze Karakakhuh."
Participating in the song and recitation portion of the festive program were Koko Hayitian–Anahid Ishkhanian–Ashot Azarian–Hovig Krikorian–Nersig Isspirian with his children Dro and Ashkhen–and Harout Pamboukjian. The Sossi–Homenetmen "Ararat" Chapter–Tele-Armenia "Hayastan," and "Groong" Dance Ensembles performed traditional Armenian and Karabakh dances throughout the musical program. Also performing were the choirs of Arig Guiragos Armenian School–Tavlian Armenian Pre-School–Armenian Society of Los Angeles Saturday School–Ferrahian Armenian School–and the Dziadzan Choir of the Lark Musical Society.
A number of audience members inspired by the program also recited poetry.
More than 300 attendees donated blood to the ARS-sponsored blood drive in aide to Alique Topalian–a young sufferer of leukemia.
The day-long festivities ended at 5 pm.
Scheduled to be held on March 12-13–the next event marking the tenth anniversary of the Karabakh liberation movement is an art exhibit and sale organized by Asbarez Daily Newspaper.