The great-granddaughter of Armenians who escaped the genocide in the Ottoman Empire a century ago recalled on Sunday those immigrants who built a thriving community here, Telegram.com reports.
“They transformed Worcester into a new Armenia,” said Kohar Avakian, master of ceremonies at a commemoration of the Armenian Genocide 103 years ago in which 1.5 million Armenians perished.
The event at Armenian Church of Our Saviour was attended by about 75 people, including Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, R-Shrewsbury; Congressman James P. McGovern, D-Worcester; and the state Senate’s acting president, Harriette L. Chandler, D-Worcester.
Worcester was the first place Armenians settled in the United States, Ms. Avakian said. To their new home they brought “their political organizations and their businesses,” she said. “On their backs they carried their things, their trauma, and their ancestral culture.
“Today we remember these migrants,” she said. “We remember our parents, grandparents and, in my case, great-grandparents, who despite enduring (persecution) laid the foundation, worked hard, and made sacrifices so we would be here today.”
The commemoration of the Armenian genocide is jointly sponsored each year by Armenian Church of Our Saviour, Armenian Church of the Martyrs and Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church in Worcester.
Ms. Polito, Mr. McGovern and Ms. Chandler offered remarks, and City Councilor Matthew E. Wally read a municipal proclamation on behalf of Mayor Joseph. M. Petty.
Guest speaker was Hayk Demoyan, director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan, Armenia. Rev. Aved Terzian, pastor of Armenian Church of our Saviour, delivered the invocation, while Rev. Saha Yemishian, pastor of Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church, offered closing remarks and benediction.