Easy question; tough answer.
Language, land, family, faith, and culture for sure. These are, no doubt, vital elements of our identity.
Without question, our rich heritage and proud 4,000 year legacy – in all their diversity – play a role in shaping who we are today as Armenians.
But, in an even more powerful sense, we are bound to our identity – and ultimately to each other – not simply by what we have inherited, but rather by that which we give of ourselves to our nation, our cause, and our common future.
Ultimately, being Armenian is more about giving, and less about getting.
Less about expectations and entitlements, and more about taking responsibility for our shared destiny.
Being Armenian, to put an even sharper point on it, is about understanding that service and sacrifice – old-fashioned virtues by today’s standards – in fact represent the cost of our continued existence among the family of nations.
That giving – of our time, toil, and treasure – is not an option, but the price of our survival.
But giving is not just a one-way street.
Through our generosity we nourish ourselves, take pride in our accomplishments, inspire those around us, and reaffirm the core of our identity as true stakeholders in the Armenian Cause.
Now of course, there are Armenians who live their entire lives – perhaps otherwise fulfilling lives – without lifting a finger for their nation or their fellow countrymen, but they are, as you can surely attest, missing out on the most powerful and rewarding part of their Armenian identity.
The simple fact is that by giving, we get.
We reinforce who we are by bearing the burden and blessing of our generation to leave a better future for those who follow.
This was true at Avarayr, at Sardarabad, at Shushi, and it’s true today.
The battlefields are different, but the stakes are just as high.
Our struggles today are vital to Armenia’s future: justice for the crime of Genocide committed against the Armenian nation, the strengthening of the Republic of Armenia, the defense of Nagorno Karabagh, the survival of the Armenian population of Javakhk, and – of course – the growth in the power of the Armenian Diaspora.
These are all crucial to our future, and all require strong, visionary leadership that understands that among the most powerful resources in the world today for Armenia is a strong, engaged, and motivated Armenian American community.
The ANCA Endowment Fund provides this leadership.
Principled, hard-working, and effective leadership that our community richly deserves and that Armenia urgently needs at this pivotal moment in the history of our proud nation.
Watch the ANCA Endowment Fund Telethon May 31st.