Asbarez – For the second consecutive year the Orange County Board of Supervisors issued a proclamation designating April 24 as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, commemorating those who perished during the first Genocide of the twentieth century.
Representatives of the Armenian American community of Orange County were in attendance.
Chairwoman Michelle Steel opened the program by stating that this year marks the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide that took the lives of one and a half million Armenians. She stated “Not only were Armenians massacred within their historic homeland but their lands and property were stolen.” The Chairwoman explained that Orange County continues to do its part in honoring the victims of this tragedy to ensure it is not forgotten or repeated.
Reverend Fathers Moushegh Tshajian from St. Mary Armenian Church in Costa Mesa and Karekin Bedourian from Forty Martyrs Armenian Church in Santa Ana took the podium and addressed the crowd. They thanked Chairwoman Steel and the County Board of Supervisors for their commitment to accurately remembering the past and honoring the victims of the Armenian Genocide, then together lead with the prayer.
Honorable Gassia Apkarian, Orange County Superior Court Judge, passed out pins with the U.S. and Armenian flags then thanked the Board of Supervisors for upholding justice, setting the historical record straight and not playing politics with historical facts. Alexander Gonzalez, District Director for Congressman Dana Rohrabacher also stressed the importance making sure such atrocities are not committed in the future and pointed to Congressman Rohrabacher’s reintroduction of the House Resolution calling for the defense of Christians and Yezidis in the region.
Anahid Arakelian, ANCA Orange County chapter addressed the crowd and also thanked Chairwoman Steel and the entire Board of Supervisors. She gave a historical account of how a few of her grandparents escaped the devastation, survived, then eventually moved to the United States where many survivors relocated and contributed on multiple levels, such as Calvin K. Kazandjian founder of Almond Joy and Mounds candy bars, MRI inventor Raymond Vahan Damadian, and Kirk Kerkorian. Arakelian urged those in attendance to see The Promise on April 21st, a powerful film about the Armenian Genocide. She highlighted the freedoms we sometimes take for granted in the U.S. and the need to make sure such tragedies are not repeated in the future. Anahid closed by once again thanking the County of Orange and urging those in attendance to follow events at home and abroad, and highlighted the situation in Artsakh and the current struggle for liberation and basic human rights taking place there.
Community members gathered for a photo with the Board of Supervisors and this year’s proclamation, and then again with David Gonzalez from Congressman Rohrabacher’s office.