YEREVAN (YERKIR)–On behalf of her government–UK Ambassador to Armenia Thorda Abbott-Watt–awarded American Armenian Harutiun Shilkhanian two medals for his long service in the British Royal Air Force.
Shilkhanian joined the Royal Air Force in 1943 as ground and air photographer in the Middle East; he was also a photo analyst for the army.
The retired Royal Air Force officer lived in the United States for many years–and permanently relocated to Armenia in 2002.
US and UK Military attaches–ARF Armenia Supreme Body member Gegham Manoukian–and Shilkhanian’s ARF Ungers were on hand for the medal presentation that took place in Yerevan on Tuesday.
"It is not only a great honor for my country to present you these medals–but also a great pleasure because it was your generation who sacrificed for the sake of peace; it is therefore a great honor for our generation to convey our gratitude," said the Ambassador who also addressed Shilkhanian’s decision to relocate to Armenia. "He has chosen Armenia because he knows where his home is; I believe he has made the right choice."
In accepting the honor–Shilkhanian proclaimed: "I’m proud to be Armenian and proud to have served in gaining freedom for mankind; I’m ready to do it over again today if needed," and thanked the UK government for the honor.
Shilkhanian–an ARF member–said that he was able to help his fellow Armenia’s during the years he lived in the US by working within the ARF ran’s. "I am unfortunately not very young–and will not be able to serve my people for much longer," he said.
"There are difficulties in Armenia today–but I am convinced that a brilliant sun is sure to shine on Armenia," concluded Shilkhanian