As a part of a "Week of Remembrance" sponsored by the city of Glendale commemorating the Armenian Genocide–a third and final event took place at the Glendale Civic Auditorium on Thursday–April 24 at 5:30 PM.
Professor of History at Glendale Community College Levon Marashlian–introduced the director of "Voices from The Lake," Michael Hagopian who spoke of the Genocide–and as a descendant of Kharpert–detailed the massacres and deportations that took place in Kharpert from 1915-1923 at the hands of the Turks.
The master of ceremonies Ara Aharonian introduced the Glendale High School Chorus to sing the national anthems of Armenia and the US.
The mayor of Glendale Frank Quintero introduced guests–including spiritual leaders–the Governor of the State of California Gray Davis–member of US Congress Adam Schiff–California State Senator Jack Scott–California State Assembly members Dario Fromer and Carol Lui–Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich–Consul General of the Republic of Armenia in the US Valery Mkrtumian–and members of the Glendale City Council and Glendale Unified School District. Also present were representatives of various Armenian political parties and organizations–as well as 1,200 people in the audience.
Mayor Quintero explained that his exposure to–and subsequent building of ties with Armenia’s began with a street named "Armenia" located across from his house in Florida. "God bless the victims of the Armenian Genocide and their descendants–through whom the memory of the victims will go on," Quintero said and emphasized that an official recognition of the Armenian Genocide must eventually occur.
The 37th governor of the State of California Gray Davis–who officially declared April 24th–2003 as the "State Day for Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide," stated–"We come together to remember their courage and to rededicate ourselves to ensuring that events like the Armenian Genocide never happen again." He continued–"And as we honor the past–we must continue to seek justice for its victims. . . In California–and across the globe–no one should be able to deny that it happened and everyone should play a part in ensuring that it never happens again. Armenia’s Remember 1915 Genocide."
US Congressman Adam Schiff stressed that events will be organized each and every year until the Turkish government–and even the President of the United States officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.
Other elected officials conveyed similar messages.
As the keynote speaker of the event–Armenian Genocide Scholar Vahakn Dadrian said that the Armenian Genocide is at the heart of the misfortune of Armenia’s who became slaves on their own lands–and the dictates of the Islam faith became the main reason for the brutality of the Turks against Armenia’s–a savagery unparalleled in the history of man. He focused on the most frightening of acts–the drowning of thousands of innocent Armenia’s in the Black Sea–the burning alive of Armenia’s in their homes–churches and in schools. He recalled that in those days Turkey had important huge quantities of gas to conduct the savagery. In Daron–Bitlis and Moush alone–90,000 Armenia’s were burned. Dadrian provided historical dates and names supporting the acts. He alluded to the wealth of information he has uncovered in British archives–and recent works of foreign historians on the Armenian Genocide.
"There is hope that Turkish denial will eventually die out–because justice will be exposed," said Dadrian.
Consul General Mkrtumian thanked the officials who had come to observe the Armenian Genocide; he stressed that the official recognition of the Armenian Genocide must occur in the near future to restore justice.
MC Aharonian read President George W. Bush’s third April 24th statement as President; once again President Bush failed to uphold his February 2000 campaign pledge to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide.
In his closing remarks Mayor Quintero thanked the day’s speakers and attendees–reminding everyone that the Glendale City Council–to honor the victims of the Armenian Genocide–will be erecting a monument on a portion of land around the Glendale Civic Auditorium–and that the Glendale City Council will appeal to all artists for designs.
He invited the two Armenian members of the Glendale City Council Rafi Manoukian and Bob Yousefian to unveil the placard that will ultimately be placed on the memorial.
The event closed with the Armenian rendition of the Lord’s Prayer–and Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian’s blessing.