WASHINGTON — A public discussion was held on Tuesday, September 11, at St. Mary Armenian Church Cultural Hall with guest speaker Aram Bakshian, Jr., speechwriter for Presidents Nixon and Ford and Director of Presidential Speechwriting for Ronald Reagan.
As it is customary with public discussion events hosted by the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, among the guests were Rev. Father Hovsep Karapetyan, pastor of St. Mary Armenian Church, newly appointed Deputy Chief of the Mission of the Armenian Embassy, Ara Magarian, newly appointed Consul of the Armenian Embassy Mikayelyan, and First and Second Secretaries Narek Melikyan and David Janazyan.
The evening commenced with a moment of silence requested by Kevork Marashlian to honor all the victims of 9/11 tragedy, which marked its 17th year anniversary.
The event took a much happier turn later with 30-year Knights of Vartan veteran member David Zenian introducing the guest speaker, highlighting Bakshian’s career and incredible work serving three US presidents as their speech writer. Zenian reinforced the key role a speech writer plays stating he/she is in a position to influence the president’s thinking.
Bakshian was then invited to begin his presentation touching upon his family’s history and connection to St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church. His great-uncle was Mihran Mesrobian, a prominent architect who had fled the atrocities of Armenian Genocide and settled in Washington metro area in 1921. Mesrobian’s career as an architect spanned over 50 years and in 1956 he was called upon to design the restoration of the St. Mary Armenian church. He was able to accomplish this project on a limited budget while maintaining the architectural integrity of the Armenian Apostolic sanctuary.
Bakshian gave the audience an overview of his career in the political arena closely working with former three presidents. He also had high praise for Ken Khachigian, another speech writer in the Reagan Administration who lives in California. He expressed great respect for President Ronald Reagan, describing him as a genuine individual who fit public service perfectly. He was not hesitant to express his deep disappointment in the current state of public servants whom he described as people with more degrees but culturally illiterate.