BELMONT, Mass. — On the 101st birthday of Armenian Genocide survivor Vahram Nahikian, his family and friends gathered at Holy Cross Armenian Catholic Church to hear his family’s survival story shared by his granddaughter Anaide Nahikian, and to see him receive a proclamation presented by state Sen. Will Brownsberger and a citation from Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian. Very Rev. Raphael Andonian of the parish hosted the December 8 ceremony.
The gathering was arranged by Lalig Musserian of Belmont, the coordinator of the committee for the 29th annual Massachusetts State House Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. That event, to have been held April 19, was cancelled due to the Boston Marathon bombings. Since that time, Musserian and fellow Belmont resident Jirair Hovsepian have been reaching out to survivors making it possible for them to receive their Armenian Martyrs Day Proclamations.
“It is an incredible experience to me to meet with Genocide survivors. I look through their eyes and feel that I can see all the horrors those eyes have seen. I can almost hear the echoes of cries for help which never came. And when those eyes are still able to smile and look beyond the pain. I am humbled by the strength and power of the human spirit,” Musserian said of the gathering for Vahram Nahikian.
That experience was told vividly by Nahikian’s granddaughter Anaide Nahikian, as she recounted the family’s story, “A survivor himself, Vahram Nahikian also represents the persecution and sacrifice of two generations before him: his father, Dr. Nechan Nahiguian, an intellectual and leader who was killed during his resistance in the 1915 Genocide, along with most of his family members, and his grandfather, Priest Der Vahram Nahiguian, Martyr for his faith and killed with his family in the 1895 Hamidian Massacres.”
“An example of our Armenian forefathers’ resilience and tenacity, Vahram Nahikian illustrates the determination that gave strength and hope through the darkness of the Genocide,” said Anaide Nahikian. ”The legacy and memory of our past lives in all of us today. We continue to rebuild, to contribute to our communities, and to exemplify the enduring power of our Christian faith, family values, and persistence of our Armenian heritage.”
Brownsberger of Belmont presented the proclamation from Gov. Deval Patrick. “It is very meaningful to show respect to the survivors and always uplifting for me to do so, said Brownsberger, “It reminds us how fortunate we are and helps us to keep in the front of our minds the goal of preventing future genocide.”