LOS ANGELES–The 26th Homenetmen Western United States Navasartian Games concluded on Sunday–July 8–with spectacular Closing Ceremonies as well as performances and entertainment by popular and well-known Armenian artists.
More than 18,000 spectators–athletes–Homenetmen members and visitors came to Birmingham High School in Van Nuys to mark the end of another successful Navasartian season–this year dedicated to the 1700th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity in Armenia.
The Closing Ceremonies began after the entry of the event’s official guests. The Western Region Marching Band led the impressive Flag Ceremony conducted by the organization’s scouts–while the national anthems of the United States and Armenia were performed to a cheering crowd. The anthems were performed by Armen Anasian–accompanied on the piano by Levon Aharonian.
The announcers for the day were Regional Executive member Garbis Shekherdemian–and Alex Pilibos Armenian School graduates Loren Antonian and Anna Sarkisian.
The Ceremonies were led by Vigen Davitian–who welcomed the guests and spectators–and thanked them for their relentless support of the Navasartian Games and the Homenetmen organizational family. Davitian went on to introduce the official guests for the Closing Ceremonies–including: Prime Minister of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Anoushavan Danielian–Armenia’s Consul General to Los Angeles Valery Mkrtoumian–ARF Western Regional Central Committee representative Viken Yacoubian–Homenetmen Central Executive Board representatives Jirair Sarkissian and Koko Balian–former Central Board chairman Misak Arzoumanian–26th Navasartian Games Honorary Presidents Vatche and Jane Soghomonian–2001 Exemplary Homenetmen member Jassik Jarrahian–US Representative Adam B. Schiff of Glendale–Glendale City Council members Rafi Manoukian–Bob Yousefian–Frank Quintero–and Dave Weaver–Glendale Unified School District Board Member Greg Krikorian–and Los Angeles Unified School District Caprice Young.
The Regional Executive message was delivered by its chairman Manuel Marselian who thanked and congratulated the attendees and all those Homenetmen members and volunteers who had given selflessly and put together the Navasartian Games.
Drawing parallels between the missions of the Armenian Church and the Homenetmen–Marselian emphasized the importance of dedicating the Closing Ceremonies to the significant anniversary being celebrated not only in Armenia but also in the Diaspora with great pump and circumstance.
Marselian went on to recognize–once more–the achievemen’s of this year’s recipient of the Exemplary Homenetmen member award–praising Jarrahian for her decades’ long service to the organization and to her community. Following–Marselian thanked and praised Honorary Presidents Vatche and Jane Soghomonian for their generosity and their exemplary representation of Homenetmen and their community in every way possible. Mareslian reminded the attendees that Vatche Soghomonian during the beginning days of the Karabakh Freedom Movement–organized bike-a-thons from Fresno to Glendale–the proceeds of which went to Karabakh through the Armenian Relief Society. Marselian also thanked past Honorary President Ashkhen Pilavjian who in addition to her generosity last year–has donated $20,000 to the organization. Congressman Adam Schiff took to the stage next praising the Homenetmen and the Navasartian Games–calling them a long-standing tradition in the Southern California community. Schiff went on to enumerate the positive influences of the Games on the community. Schiff congratulated the organization for taking upon themselves a big portion of the community’s work.
Central Executive Member Jirair Sarkissian delivered his message congratulating the organizers and the volunteers for their hard work and success. The last ceremonial event of the day took place when long-time chairman of the Central Executive Misak Arzoumanian was presented with the Homenetmen Gold Medal–for his long-time dedication and intellectual contributions to the Homenetmen family.
Arzoumanian went on to thank the Central Executive and his colleagues for the highest honor the organization bestows upon its members. After Arzoumanian–Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian in his speech challenged the youth to go forward to victory–to march forward to "a free Ararat–whereupon lies Noah’s Ark–and wherefrom God blesses Armenia and Karabakh."
The closing event of the program began with the Western Regional Marching band leading the Parade of the Athletes–which included chapter executives–scouts–auxiliary members and athletes. After the parade–the victory cups were presented to the winning teams and all of the athletes received their medals.
Armen Anasian closed the program with his rendition of "Harach Nahadag," and then singer Sako entertained the audience. The Navasartian festival continued until midnight Sunday–with the participation of entertainers and singers. 26th Navasartian Games Results Soccer 1. Glendale Ararat and Pasadena Azadamard chapters 2. Crescenta Valley Shant Chapter 3. San Francisco and San Fernando Valley Massis chapters Track and Field 1. San Fernando Valley Massis Chapter 2. Glendale Ararat Chapter 3. Los Angeles Mayr Chapter Table Tennis 1. Glendale Ararat Chapter 2. San Fernando Valley Massis Chapter 3. Crescenta Valley Shant Chapter Swimming 1. San Fernando Valley Massis Chapter 2. Glendale Ararat Chapter 3. Santa Clara Ani Chapter Volleyball 1. San Fernando Valley Massis Chapter 2. Los Angeles Mayr and Santa Clara Ani chapters 3. San Francisco–Montebello and Pasadena Azadamard chapters Tennis 1. Glendale Ararat Chapter 2. Santa Clara Ani and South Bay Arakadz chapters 3. Los Angeles Mayr Chapter Basketball 1. Glendale Ararat Chapter 2. Montebello Chapter 3. Los Angeles Mayr Chapter Overall Achievement Cup South Bay Arakadz Chapter