By Gayane Muradyan
YEREVAN — Aid from the Tekeyan Cultural Association of the US and Canada (TCA) continues to be distributed to the families of soldiers who lost their lives heroically in the four-day April war earlier this year. Accompanied by Karen Kakoyan, vice chairman of the Democratic Liberal Party of Armenia, and Sako Arian, editor of the website Arevelk, on December 3, I, as the official representative of TCA in Armenia, visited the family of Azat Simonyan, a serviceman born in 1996, in the village of Kamaris in Kotayk Province of the Republic of Armenia Azat lived together with his father Kajik, mother Vehanush, and sister Hripsime. Until he was conscripted into the army, Azat studied at a culinary college in order to become a chef. His mother related that Azat was happy to go into the army. He had certain health issues but did not wish to let them prevent his service. He rushed to depart for the army, and after returning began working in the field of food service.
Azat servied in Jabrahil (Jabrayil) in the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh. On the morning of April 1, he telephoned his parents, and even telephoned his uncle in Moscow, saying that he was well and that they should not worry about him. Azat was serving on guard duty at the front lines when the enemy suddenly opened fire and attacked. He and his fellow soldiers did not hesitate, and held their positions until the end. They succeeded in repulsing the enemy but Azat Simonyan died the death of a brave fighter. He was awarded the medals of Great Courage posthumously by both the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh.
The next family we visited in the province of Kotayk lived in a subdistrict of the city of Hrazdan. It was the family of serviceman Vahe Zakaryan, who was born in 1995. He lived with his father Samvel, his mother Anzhela, and two sisters, Yeranuhi and Anahit. The family lived in the Russian Federation, and had a small business.
Vahe studied at the Institute of Physical Culture, focusing on Oriental martial arts. His mother proudly showed us her son’s black and red belts, which she had fastidiously placed on display in a corner devoted to her son’s memory. Vahe while in Moscow had a children’s martial arts group to which he was very devoted.
Vahe returned to Yerevan and was conscripted into the Armenian army. His father related that on April 1, the day prior to Vahe’s death, he spoke with his tank driver son via Skype. Vahe reassured his father in a calm and confident tone that there was some light shooting at his position. On April 2, the tank crew had maneuvered several times around the natural line of fire of the battalion and pierced through the attacking enemy. Vahe died during the efforts at piercing through the enemy lines. Posthumously he was given the medals of Great Courage of the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh.