Sen. Menendez celebrates Armenia’s Independence Day with community

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez attended and addressed a community celebration of the 22nd anniversary of Armenia’s Independence on Sunday at the Glendale Youth Center, Asbarez reports.

In his remarks, Menendez recalled the heroic perseverance of the Armenian people who took up arms to defend their homeland in 1918, establishing the Independent Republic of Armenia, and after seven decades of Soviet rule, once again declared their will to live freely.

The senator also praised the contribution of Armenian Americans to the fabric of life in the United States, and highlighted the contributions of the Armenian National Committee of America in advancing the just aspirations of the Armenian people and advocating for their rights.

Menedez also said that the time has come for the United States to join the European Union and 19 other countries and recognize the Armenian Genocide. He recalled Hitler’s famous quote “who now remembers the Armenians” before embarking on the Holocaust. “We remember,” he declared.

The senator also took time to meet and greet the community members gathered to mark Armenia’s independence.

Also speaking during the program was Dr. Viken Hovsepian, the chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western US Central Committee. In his remarks Hovsepian highlighted the need to work hard and sacrifice to preserve independence and advance our national ideals.

“We understood it at its inception and we understand it even better now that independence is not a date-specific event and that it’s a process which requires hard work and sacrifice,” said Hovsepian,  “The independent Republic of Armenia is but a link in the chain of our goals and dreams–the chain which symbolizes our ideals for a more free, more independent, definitely more just and democratic Armenia which will serve as an anchor to our larger  dreams of a complete and united Armenia.”

“The link by itself is not complete, and the chain missing a single link stops becoming the chain that it is,” explained Hovsepian who emphasized the importance of the inclusion and involvement of every Armenian in the advancement of the Armenian nation.

“We cannot understand those who consider the efforts for a better Republic of Armenia to be the monopoly of those living within the boundaries of our incomplete, 29,000 square kilometers, partial state, as three-fourths of our Nation lives outside of those territories,” said Hovsepian.

“Those who live outside of Armenia played an instrumental role in battling the Soviet rule over Armenia, and they will go on shaping a better Armenia in the present times,” said Hovsepian. “Irrespective of where an Armenian lives, it is his or her service and the level of dedication that matters and not the soil on which he or she lives on. It is incumbent upon us to re dedicate ourselves today, on this solemn and happy occasion, to the service of our nation, and to that link which we call the Republic of Armenia, in the name of the chain of our ideals.”

Representing Armenia’s Consulate General, Artak Galstyan addressed the gathering, highlighting the importance of the day and critical turning point Armenia’s independence was in history.

The program began with the singing of the national anthems, with Glendale Youth Center’s Balabek Barsamyan welcoming the community to the celebration, which was concluded with a reception.

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