SANTA ANA–On April 27–on a Sunday afternoon–Orange County Armenia’s buzzed with activity. The Armenian National Committee had invited elected public officials to address a gathering of 300 at the Armenian Center Ghazarian Hall; the celebration then moved to the Gugasian Hall of Forty Martyrs Armenian Apostolic Church to celebrate the burning of the mortgage.
Speaking first–Supervisor Chris Norby (4th District) presented a resolution by the Orange County Board of Supervisors.
Seda Hambarsoumian from the OC ANC presented opening remarks–"During the past week–many of us took part in solemn ceremonies and protest demonstrations in memory of the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide and demanded that the Turkish government–once and for all–acknowledge those acts and to deliver justice to the Armenian people," she stressed. "Today’s ceremony is our way of demonstrating that we Armenia’s are alive and well and we continue to be constructive and creative citizens of our communities."
She invited the Mayor of the City of Santa Ana–Miguel Pulido to speak.
Mayor Pulido recalled when he was first elected to the City Council in 1986; the church building issue was one of the first that came his way for consideration. He added–"All these were dreams at the time; they were sketches on paper and with your efforts and your persistence they are beautiful realities that you have realized."
"The Armenian Genocide is something that no doubt is carried in your hearts and your minds–and will be in those of successive generations," said the mayor–congratulating the community. "You’ve certainly demonstrated your support of social services–your faith– and your commitment to community building."
Mayor Pulido introduced Assemblyman Dario Fromer–noting his legislative accomplishmen’s in securing acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide and a trade agreement for the State Office of Trade and Commerce to facilitate trade with Armenia.
Chief of Staff for Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante John Farkas–stressed that the Armenian Genocide is not only accompanied by grief–but also survival. "The mortgage burning ceremony today proves that you’re unified and we are with you in that," he stressed.
Those assembled then moved on to Gugasian Hall for a program including a short video presentation on the construction of the Forty Martyrs Church and the school-hall complex.
After a number of elected officials spoke–community leaders congratulated and thanked the community. Addresses were made by church board of trustees chair Garo Sumbulian; ARF Armen Garo representative Dikran Sassounian; the Prelacy Executive Council President Avo Donoyan; and keynote speaker Razmig Konyalian.
Sassounian reiterated truth–justice and the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Congress.
Konyalian provided an engineering perspective–dividing the community-building into three periods: creative; consolidation; and enjoyment. He warned that the current "enjoyment" period is when greatest failures occur–proposing that instead–"We create new visions–create new opportunities–give a fresh start to our creativity and ensure a new cycle of growth and prosperity."
Konyalian said that the development of community human resources held greatest priority–suggesting the addition of a "moral mortgage," for the development of the next generation.
The program concluded with Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian’s remarks and blessings.
Headed by the Prelate–pastors–past and present presidents of the Board of Trustees–and presidents of community organizations and committees–the mortgage burning served as the finale.