By Taleen Babayan
NEW YORK — Hundreds of Armenians crowded into Kavookjian Hall in New York on Sunday, April 25, to observe the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Intermittent rain compelled the organizers to forgo the traditional locale of Times Square.
Attendees crowded the standing-room-only hall, spilled into the vestibule, stood on the marble staircase and filled the upstairs lobby. People came on hired buses from as far away as Boston and Philadelphia and from all the Armenian churches in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area. A large contingent flew in from California to support the event. Especially prominent was the presence of a vast multitude of Armenian youth from various schools and colleges on the East Coast.
The event was once more supported by all the major Armenian-American organizations in the United States as well as by all Armenian churches of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and their pastors, many of whom were present and introduced as a group.
Emcee Dr. Mary Papazian, senior vice president of academic Affairs and provost of Lehman College, City University of New York, introduced Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of Armenian Church of America (Eastern), who gave the invocation. “Ninety five years ago, the Armenian nation went through ‘the cruel valley of death.’ We lost our mother soil which we had defended with our blood and cultivated with our sweat,” he said. “The wounds of genocide never heal since a nation can never fully recover, but penance by the perpetrators and acts of reparation can diminish the pain.”
The Very Rev. Vazken Karayan, pastor of the Holy Cross Armenian Church in New Jersey, representing Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church (Eastern), gave the benediction.