By Taleen Babayan
NEW YORK — On Sunday, April 26, more than 15,000 people including Jews, Greeks, Turks, Assyrians, Cypriots and Kurds stood at Times Square in solidarity with Armenians to honor the 1.5 million lives lost and to demand justice from the Turkish government for their crimes against humanity.
Although the visible reminder of the Armenian Genocide, the brave survivors, were no longer present in the audience, descendants took their place and carried on their memory through their significant presence and a procession that spanned miles, traveling from St. Vartan Cathedral at 34th St. and 2nd avenue all the way to Times Square. The exceptional event was organized by the Knights and Daughters of Vartan for the past 30 years, once again, and drew the East Coast to the crossroads of the world.
Staunch supporters of Armenian Genocide recognition in the US, who appear every April and work behind the scenes throughout the year to bolster the Armenian Republic and Diaspora, were in attendance, including Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who called the Armenian Genocide, “one of the darkest events in human history.” He called upon President Obama to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide and said he was disappointed the President had lost his “moral compass.”
“We must not make it the policy of the United States to turn our backs on anywhere genocide occurs,” said Menendez, who as chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee worked tirelessly to pass Resolution 410, demanding that the US acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. “When we do so, we empower those who use genocide as a weapon of war.”