By Aram Arkun
Armenian Mirror-Spectator Staff
PEABODY, Mass. — On the morning of April 25, Armenians of Peabody, Mass. and their friends assembled to commemorate the Armenian Genocide with the participation of many local elected officials. At the start of the program, the Armenian flag was raised outside of town hall. Approximately 60 people attended the program.
Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt, Jr. of Peabody was ill, and was represented by State Rep. Tom Walsh of the 12th Essex District. Fr. Antranig Baljian of St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church opened the event with a prayer. His son Fr. Stephan Baljian of St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church of Merrimack Valley was also present. Mary Bellavance of the mayor’s office welcomed the guests.
Houry Boyamian, principal of St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School in Watertown, was the keynote speaker. She summarized the events of the Armenian Genocide through the story of her father Karnig Panian, a Genocide survivor who managed to overcome the extreme trauma and obstacles of his early life to become an educator and vice-principal at an Armenian school in Beirut, Lebanon. His life serves as an example of both the brutality of the Genocide and the resilience of the Armenian people.
Boyamian and her sister recently had their father’s Armenian-language memoirs translated into English and published under the title Goodbye, Antoura. Copies were given to several of the officials present at the event.