BOSTON — On April 24, 2021, as Armenians everywhere were preparing to commemorate with marches, prayers and protest the 106th anniversary of the beginning of the 1915 calamities in Turkey that led to the attempt to slaughter a nation, President of the United States Joseph Biden officially recognized the dark chapter in human history and the reality as a genocide.
Armenians across the globe were stunned and elated, especially those living in the United States, where efforts to gain recognition extended for more than 100 years for the extermination of their ancestors as more than just an ancient feud between Armenian and Turks.
In Boston, “Demonstrate & Commemorate: A March for Justice,” organized by the Massachusetts Committee to Commemorate the Armenian Genocide, which seeks to educate on all genocides, but especially the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and to advocate for recognition and prevention of such tragedies worldwide, had announced plans for the day. Organizers fearing fewer attendees for the start of the program were elated to see large numbers of Armenian-Americans from Greater Boston and beyond crossing Boston Common carrying American and Armenian flags and homemade signs prepared to march all the way over Beacon Hill to the Armenian Heritage Park for the planned program. Many attended because they had heard the news that President Joe Biden had finally done what so many American Presidents and administrations had failed to do.
The announcement by President Biden also activated the local media organizations to shake off the warm and fuzzy afternoon and pay more attention than usual to Armenians and the event. They sent television news crews, still photographers, and print journalists to provide coverage.
After a brief greeting and presentation by AGCC leaders Anais Astarjian and Herman Purutyan, the Armenian Scouts carrying flags and banners led the demonstration up to the State House on Beacon Hill where they laid a wreath in memorial of those lost during the Genocide. The march route proceeded down historic Beacon Hill to City Hall Plaza and from there past Faneuil Hall and Quincy Marketplace to the Armenian Heritage Park on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
The crowd flooded the circular maze enclosure of the park and surrounded the immigrant monument dedicated to the Genocide as State Representative and Master of Ceremonies David Muradian Jr. led off the program. Prayers by the Armenian clergy from various parishes, the American and Armenian national anthems performed by Ani Zargarian, and recorded greetings by national, state and local officials were presented on a billboard-sized video panel. A surprise appearance by former Mayor of the City of Boston and United States Ambassador to the Vatican Raymond Flynn, statements by Middlesex County of Massachusetts Peter Koutoujian and State Representative Steven Owens representing the 29th Middlesex (parts of Watertown and Cambridge) enriched the program.