BROCKTON, Mass. — A small but vital group of New England Armenians, many old friends and activists, attended the 31st Anniversary of Armenia’s independence on September 21 at City Hall Plaza in the small post-industrial city of Brockton.
Mayor Robert Sullivan opened the ceremony and spoke about the history of the multifaceted city and its immigrants’ contributions, especially the Armenians and their role in improving the city through good and bad times. The Armenians’ ethic of dedication to family and hard work and their determination to survive after the massacres and genocide in their homeland was admirable, he stated.
The mayor introduced John Merian, a prominent businessman and lifelong Brockton resident, who had organized the Armenian Independence Day event.
In an emotional presentation Merian spoke about his grandparents and their contemporaries who could only dream about a free and independent country named the Republic of Armenia. They are gone now, but Merian said he feels that the ancestors were looking over the gathering with pride. John spoke about his recent visit to Armenia with his family and the wonder of the ancient and beautiful people and land and their devotion to the ideas of freedom, liberty, and democracy in a sea of authoritarian countries harboring ill will towards them. Azerbaijan and Turkey were willing to attack the sovereign country’s borders and beyond in a continuation of a more than 100 year old policy continuing Genocide and aggrandizing the land and property of others.
John Merian and his brother Paul and their families are proud of living in Brockton with more than 50 nationalities represented among the residents. John said that he has met most of them and one thing that he has discovered is they all share similar stories and experiences in the United States.