President Serzh Sargsyan attended today a ceremony in memory of great Armenian philanthropist Kirk Kerkorian, National Hero of Armenia, at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. The president took part in a session devoted to the great Armenian philanthropist at the Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Library where he delivered a speech. Afterwards, the president attended the requiem service for the rest of Kirk Kerkorian’s soul at Etchmiadzin Cathedral which was led by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
Remarks by President Serzh Sargsyan in honor of Kirk Kerkorian
Your Holiness, Your Eminences, Ladies and gentlemen,
We have gathered here today to honor the memory of great philanthropist Kirk Kerkorian, National Hero of Armenia, who passed away one week ago.
Kirk Kerkorian deceased in the year of the Armenian Genocide Centennial when Armenians all over the world commemorated the innocent martyrs who had fallen victim to that crime. It is known that history does not admit “ifs.” But perhaps Kirk Kerkorian might have really become a businessman of another, different Armenia, one who pushes life forward, or an Armenian boxing champion, or, let’s say, a heroic pilot of Armenia’s air force. Perhaps he might have been an ordinary worker earning his family’s bread with dignity in that another, different Armenia.
Today nobody can answer this question, but like many Armenian girls and boys who have been destined to live in a foreign land, Kirk Kerkorian shows the Armenia which could have been real. He embodies the Armenia which was stolen from us with the aim of utterly annihilating the name of Armenians on the earth.
Honoring Kirk Kerkorian’s memory, we should also appraise America and its people at their true worth. It was exactly there where his business talent revealed itself, making it possible for him to promote his multifarious activities. And he was not the only one. The United States of America became home to hundreds of thousands of Armenians, which gave them the opportunity to survive the Armenian Genocide and start a new life.
He earned his bread since he was nine years old so that he could help his parents. He was a boxer and a pilot, a major player in the machine and entertainment industries. He never forgot his Armenian roots, which was easy to do in that atmosphere of immigrants.
Since the devastating earthquake in 1988, Kerkorian lent a helping hand to Armenia, thus supporting his sisters and brothers. He was so modest that he never allowed anything in Armenia and another place to be named after him. Such proposals were made everywhere where he sponsored charitable projects, but Kirk Kerkorian remained adamant about that fundamental position.
A man lives as long as people remember and talk about him. We will not forget our hero, Kirk Kerkorian. We will remember that thanks to him, numerous roads, infrastructures and cultural centers of Armenia were built and renovated, thereby giving fresh impetus to Armenia’s economy.
We are grateful to our great Armenian-American compatriot for his major contribution to Armenia’s life, and we will never forget it. Kirk Kerkorian’s memory will live forever in his mother country of Armenia.
It will live so that another great Armenian-American’s words to be become a reality again and again: “Try to destroy Armenia, and see whether you can do it. Drive them out from their houses to the desert, do not forget to snatch out their bread and the last mouthful of water, set on fire their and their God’s houses. See that they are going to revive again. See that when two of them meet and laugh in their mother tongue after 20 years, the nation will rise again.”
Throughout the last hundred years, one Armenian met another one and started to build a new Armenia.
Kirk Kerkorian and the new Armenia met each other, talked to each other and made fun of the mean ideas of hangmen.
On behalf of all of us, I express my thanks to you, Kirk Kerkorian. Rest in peace.