BOSTON — The venerable chamber of the Massachusetts State House once again filled with Armenians and their supporters on April 12 for the annual commemoration of the tragedy of the Armenian Genocide. Though 104 years may have passed, the reverberations of this event continue to affect millions of people’s lives, and the pageantry and traditions of the State House make it one of the most impressive places in the United States at which this is manifested.
The morning began with the ceremonial procession of the sergeant-at-arms, elected officials and Armenian clergy of the three main denominations in Massachusetts entering the hall led by the Homenetmen Scouts bearing Armenian and American flags. Rev. Dr. Avedis Boynerian of Armenian Memorial Church of Watertown gave the invocation and Representative David Robertson recited the Pledge of Allegiance. The children of St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School sang the Armenian and American anthems.
Rep. David Muradian, the sole Armenian member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, welcomed the guests and served as master of ceremonies. Massachusetts State Senator Will Brownsberger recognized the elected municipal and state officials present.
Speaker DeLeo and Keynote Speaker Afeyan
Sheriff of Middlesex County Peter Koutoujian, a regular presence at important Armenian-American events, introduced Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. He first, however, briefly presented his family’s story of fleeing Marash to the United States. Koutoujian also commented on the recent visit of Anna Hakobyan, wife of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, to Boston for the City of Smile Foundation banquet, where Koutoujian was master of ceremonies, and noted the encouraging changes over the past year in the Republic of Armenia.