Today, on the occasion of the Republic Day President Serzh Sargsyan handed to the family members of the servicemen who died in year 2016 in combat and non-combat conditions, volunteers, members of the home guard and reservists the highest state decorations which have been awarded posthumously to the modern day heroes who fell valiantly while executing their patriotic duties. The ceremony took place at the Presidential Palace. President Serzh Sargsyan underscored in his speech that the young generation will remember them forever, just as we remember today the brave who fell one hundred years ago.
President Serzh Sargsyan’s message at the award ceremony
Ladies and Gentlemen:
As a rule, in situations like this, I start my speech with the words “Dear Awardees”. Today however is different. Our precious and beloved awardees are not with us. They are being awarded posthumously. I have to confess that psychologically this is the most difficult duty which I have to perform from time to time.
Our heroic sons and brothers fell for their beloved ones, for us all, for Armenia, for the peaceful and eternal existence of the Armenian nation. At the fateful moment, they’ve made their choice. They have chosen freedom and dignity. Many of them very young, way too young, but their choice and deeds were so mature that they have made our entire society more mature. In a couple of days, they changed from students into tutors and became the torchbearers of the new generation born by independent Armenia. They have raised the bar of decency so high that it will be impossible to get around. Their life and heroism embody the code of honor of the citizen of Armenia and of the Armenian soldier which will be impossible to get around. It will be impossible because their right here, with us, among us. They are present and they are doing a greater job than some of those physically “present”. For that very reason, allow me nevertheless to address them and to say:
I congratulate you on receiving high state awards. I also congratulate you on the occasion of the Republic Day. Heroes just like you fell in the battles of 1918, so that the Armenian nation could live, so that Armenia could exist. And Armenia lives. For us, you are the same heroes as those of Sardarapat, Bash-Aparan, Gharakilisa. One hundred years later, young generations will remember you, just as we remember today the brave who fell almost one hundred years before.
Rest in peace and rest assured that we are a nation because of you, we are a state because of you, and we are decent people because of you. Every generation will know and will not forget it. You’ve left us with great pain, but also with great pride and bequest. We bow to your deeds and promise that we will spare no effort to do all the good that you didn’t get time to do.
On the occasion of the event, His Holiness Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II gave his patriarchal blessings to the present and offered a prayer.
At the conclusion of the event, the President of Armenia made an appeal to the attendees.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Young servicemen present here are cadets from the RA Ministry of Defense, Vazgen Sarkissian Military Insitute, and Marshal Armenak Khanperiants Military Aviation Institute. I asked them to come here to be present at the ceremony award but not only for that. I also want them to approach you right after the ceremony, get acquainted with you, to connect with you and throughout their army duty to be with you, next to your families, thus becoming a link between your families and the Armenian Army.
It is very important for the army officer to stand by the families of our fallen heroes, to understand the pain of parents who’ve lost their sons, to understand the significance of sons, to appreciate the importance of soldiers – of those very soldiers whose commander he will be very soon, whom he will lead in training and on combat positions, whom he will be responsible for, also responsible for making them stronger, to make them more combat ready, to defend together with them our Fatherland.
I ask you right after the ceremony to use this opportunity. I also have a little hope that they will be able to console you, even if just a tiny bit. Thank you,” said President Serzh Sargsyan.