By Hagop Vartivarian
Whether in the homeland or the diaspora, Armenians celebrated the 24th anniversary of the third Republic of Armenia. Our people always has proudly commemorated, and continues to commemorate and exalt this anniversary because it knows eminently how to value the importance of each episode of independence.
The anniversary of the restoration of our independence is May 28, 1918, which was achieved by all Armenians through a collective and unified struggle at the battle of Sardarabad. On May 26, when all the children of our nation, cleric and villager, worker and freedom fighter, teacher and political party leader, succeeded in halting the Turkish advance toward the province of Ayrarat. Two days later, the dissolution of the Transcaucasian Seim gave birth to the first Republic of Armenia. Our homeland, which had lost its independence for 600 years, suddenly found it again. The true date of our independence goes back further to the Artashesian dynasty.
May 28, 1918 marks the restoration of Armenian statehood and is recorded in our history as such. November 29, 1920 and September 21, 1991 have their respective significance in Armenia’s modern history, and no controversy should cast any shadow on either one through comparison.
Afterwards, our first republic was unable to continue its national mission—in other words to defend our territorial expanse and assure the prosperity of its people, and surrendered its statehood to the administrators of Soviet Armenia. On November 29, 1920 thus was born our second republic, the supremely Armenian republic. It brought positive developments to our people for 71 years. It had its institutions of higher education, the Academy of Sciences of Armenia and national cultural establishments. It organized the repatriation of Armenians scattered throughout the word in 1946 to 1948. It built our new temple to the national heritage—the Matenadaran, while it secured the ascendance of our centuries-old church in the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin. And it also preserved our borders, and during World War II it demonstrated the martial spirit of its youth. In other words, in general it was a boon for our people.