NEW YORK — Among the thousands of tourists and native New Yorkers who crisscrossed through the bustling and overflowing streets of Times Square on Sunday afternoon, April 21, there were only three individuals whose universal message of human suffering and injustice mattered most.
Surrounded by dazzling billboards, scores of people and looming skyscrapers, Perouz Kaloustian, Arshalouis Dadir and Charlotte Kechejian stood out as the survivors of one of the most catastrophic events in world history. The three women, a century old, sat in the front row of the 98th Armenian Genocide Commemoration, huddled underneath blankets and braving the cold so they could be present in Times Square as living proof to the assembled crowd that numbered in the several thousands.
But the survivors were also there to inspire. Standing just a few feet away were the disciplined and earnest Homenetmen Scouts, standing at attention in their crisp uniforms and taking turns holding the flags of the United States, Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh throughout the program. The close proximity of these two generations — those who survived to tell the story — and those who will continue the memory — culminated in a silent promise of never forgetting, which emerged as the theme of the afternoon as politicians and guest speakers promised the survivors that their struggles and stories will continue to live on.
A supporter of Armenians and one of the earliest and most consistent backers of the Armenian Genocide Resolution in the US Congress, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) once again showed his commitment to the Armenians and to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
“We promise that even when the last survivor is gone, we’ll keep the memory of the Armenian Genocide alive because it’s our duty,” said Schumer as his voice reverberated through Times Square to thunderous applause. “We come here to tell the world, to tell Turkey, to tell everyone, that you cannot deny the genocide.”