BOSTON – The Armenian community of greater Boston put together a solemn commemoration of the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 21 at the Massachusetts State House, with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey the keynote speaker.
Massachusetts State Representative David Muradian served as master of ceremonies. The commemoration began, as always, with a procession of the sergeant-at-arms, Massachusetts elected officials and clergy, led by the Homenetmen Scouts. Pastor Joseph Garabedian of the First Armenian Evangelical Church of Greater Boston (in Belmont) gave a powerful and eloquent invocation, calling for justice as well as recognition of the Genocide.
After the American Pledge of Allegiance, led by State Rep. Dave Rogers, the American and Armenian national anthems were sung by the children of St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School of Watertown.
Massachusetts Speaker Robert A. DeLeo welcomed the audience to the State House. He recalled learning about the Armenian Genocide and the Armenian heritage from former Speaker George Keverian, and later on American humanitarian intervention from Peter Balakian’s books. DeLeo expressed the hope that the Genocide would receive wide formal acknowledgment, but that even afterwards, “we must vow to carry on their legacy [that of the victims], to ensure that the world never forgets.”
Attorney General Healey spoke of the importance of calling crimes what they are and holding perpetrators accountable. She said, “It is why it is so shameful for anyone or any country to refuse to recognize the Armenian Genocide, and it is why we must continue the work and go forward today.”
Healey spoke of the disheartening recent vote in Turkey, and the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Syria, and called on Americans to work for peace, justice and an end to oppression.