Heritage Park Monument Unveiled


By Alin K. Gregorian
Mirror-Spectator Staff

PEABODY, Mass. — The Armenian Genocide monument that will be the focal point of the Armenian Heritage Park in Boston later this year was unveiled at a reception sponsored and hosted by the Knights and Daughters of Vartan at the birthplace of that monument, A&A Industries.

A&A Industries, owned and operated by Anahid and Aurelian Mardiros and their sons, is a high-precision cutting facility which specializes mostly in hightech applications. The Mardiros family has donated the sculpture to the Armenian Heritage Park.

Guests strolled around the facilities and took pictures in front of the abstract sculpture, a split dodecahedron designed by architect Donald Tellalian. Café-style small tables were set on the floor of the factory, and food and drinks lent the event a light atmosphere.

The sculpture, when it eventually makes its way to its permanent home, will be mounted above a reflecting pool. It will be reconfigured annually.

A joyous Anahid Mardiros, who was happily playing with her grandchildren, was both relieved and delighted that the sculpture was finished. “It’s like a baby that took two years to have,” she said. She added that she was grateful for the support of close friends in realizing this project.

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Ani Stepanian of Belmont, whose husband, Nelson, chaired the event, was happy with the
night’s turnout. “You have people from different segments of the community. That is kind of perfect considering what the monument signifies.”

The program started with Sevag Khatchadourian singing the Armenian and American national anthems. Then, dancers from the Sayat Nova Dance Company, in which Vartan
Mardiros is a dancer, performed to the delight of the crowd.

James Kalustian, the president of the Armenian Heritage Park Foundation, thanked the Knights of Vartan for sponsoring the night’s event and for being the first organization to support the project, as well the Mardiros family.

“We owe them an undying debt of gratitude,” he said. “Donald envisioned it and the Mardiroses realized it.”
“Many people said it couldn’t happen. Others said it shouldn’t happen. But now, we’re a few weeks away” from its unveiling, Kalustian said. Tentatively the parcel is supposed to be finished sometime late in May or in early June. “The park is dedicated to the
memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide and to those who came here to seek new lives,” Kalustian said.

The sculpture, he noted, will have 24-26 different configurations, which symbolize the dispersion and coming together of immigrants from different shores.

Kalustian introduced Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, crediting his perseverance during his time as a state representative for the Armenians getting the parcel in the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Koutoujian praised the Knights for the their support of various projects in the community and the two local Armenian schools, St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School and the Armenian Sisters’ Academy, as well as the Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “They do this good work without anyone knowing,” he said.

He gave credit to the late Peabody mayor, Peter Torigian, for doing so much to help the community in general and the Armenian-American community in particular. Mayor Edward Bettencourt, who spoke next, continued with praise for the work of the late Torigian. “I really feel honored to be here. The Armenian community is a very important part of the city of Peabody. The architect responsible for making this city was Peter Torigian. He built it into the great city it is.”

In a touching story, first-time mayor Bettencourt said how when he was a student in
high school, Torigian came to speak to the students and left an indelible impression on the
future mayor.

Bettencourt noted that he is going to continue the tradition of commemorating the Armenian Genocide in the city annually with the participation of high school and middle school students, adding that the program had taken place earlier that day. “I want students to come and learn what evil is so that something like that does not happen again.”

Also present at the event was Torigian’s widow, Jackie.

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