Between the years of 1915 and 1923–a million and a half Armenia’s were brutally murdered as a result of a calculated plan to eliminate Armenia’s from the Ottoman Empire. Men taken from their homes and separated from their families were killed. Women–children–and elderly were sent on forced death marches across the Syrian Desert. These actions constituted the first genocide of the 20th century and one of the most vicious and tragic events in world history.
One and one-half million Armenian lives were lost–countless more were persecuted–and the entire Armenian community suffered. As we reflect on these horrible years–Armenian Americans know this story and its relevance in history. Tragically–some question its historical accuracy. To prevent future genocide is to face the reality that it exists. Knowledge of past genocides in different parts of our world assists in arming us to prevent such acts from occurring again.
At the outset of the Jewish Holocaust–Adolph Hitler said that no one remembered what happened to the Armenian people during the genocide. He then proceeded to implement his Final Solution.
Today–Armenia’s are continuing to work to rebuild and strengthen their great nation. After facing years of injustice and persecution–the Armenian people’s spirit remains strong.
I join you in commemorating the 89th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. As we remember these sad years–we must never forget that an act of genocide is not only an act of hatred toward one particular group–but toward all humankind. May we learn from the tragedy of the Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to full equality–respect–and acceptance for all people. An important first step is the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the United States Government and the world as a whole.