MISSION HILLS, Calif. — In honor of all Armenian-Americans who have served in the US military, a local Boy Scout has dedicated a veterans tribute garden at the Ararat Home in Mission Hills.
Andrew Levon Krekorian of BSA Troop 36 in Valley Village had the idea for the veterans garden as a service project for the Eagle Scout rank, Scouting’s highest achievement. He was inspired by the memory of his late grandfather Rick Krekorian, who was a World War II combat veteran of the US Marines Corps. He brought his idea to the Ararat Home, who embraced it and partnered with Andrew in designing and completing the garden.
“Armenian-Americans have courageously served our country in the military since the Civil War,” said Andrew, 18. “The men and women who gave us the freedoms we enjoy deserve all of our gratitude, and this project is one step to honor them appropriately.”
The garden includes a circular seating area of concrete benches around a shade tree, which will be enjoyed by the elderly residents of the Ararat Home and their families. A bronze plaque that Andrew designed reads “Throughout our nation’s history Armenian-Americans have served nobly and selflessly in the United States Military. This garden is dedicated to the sacrifices they made and their undying patriotism and devotion. As you enjoy this quiet place, take a moment to remember them with gratitude for their service.”
In addition to the garden, Andrew created a brochure highlighting some of the history of Armenian-American military service for the adjacent Ararat-Eskijian Museum. The brochure includes information about inspirational role models like Brigadier General Haig Shekerjian, the first Armenian to graduate from West Point; Anna Der-Vartanian, the first woman ever to serve as the Navy’s Master Chief Petty Officer; World War II Marine Corps heroes Victor Maghakian and Harry Kizirian; and Civil War veteran of the Union Navy Khachadour Paul Garabedian, who is believed to be the first Armenian to become a US citizen.
“I’m extremely grateful to everyone who helped make this project a reality, especially the management of Ararat Home and the Ararat-Eskijian Museum,” said Andrew. “None of this would have been possible without their generous partnership, cooperation and encouragement.”