On Wednesday, October 26th, Nevada’s Armenian community held a candlelight vigil at St. Geragos Armenian Apostolic Church in Las Vegas, honoring the 210 Armenian lives martyred in the defense of the Armenian homeland following Azerbaijan’s illegal and unprovoked assault on Armenia’s sovereign territory beginning September 13th.
The vigil was organized by Armenian National Committee of America – Nevada (ANCA-NV) Co-Chair Lenna Hovanessian with the participation of the Very Reverend Father Sasoon Zumrookhdian of St. Geragos Armenian Apostolic Church, Reverend Father Artsakh Bedoyan of the St. Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church, Pastor Sam Agulian of the Armenian Evangelical Church of Las Vegas, and Honorary Consul of Armenia Adroushan Armenian. Joining in the solemn remembrance was ANCA Programs Director Alex Galitsky.
Legislators paying tribute to Armenia’s fallen heroes included Representatives Dina Titus (D-NV) and Susie Lee (D-NV), Senator Jacky Rosen’s (D-NV) regional representative Brendan Vargas, and Las Vegas Councilwoman Victoria Seaman.
“The war on Artsakh by Azerbaijan and Turkey is a continuation of the existential threat the Armenian people face today in their homeland,” remarked Rep. Susie Lee. “I condemn Azerbaijan’s reckless attacks on Armenia and will continue to stand with the Armenian community as an advocate.”
Since coming to office in 2019, Rep. Susie Lee has been a vocal advocate for the Armenian people and an active member of the Armenian Congressional Caucus.
“We have to protect democracies that are our friends in difficult neighborhoods, and certainly Armenia fits that bill,” remarked Rep. Dina Titus, speaking to the Congressional momentum being built to hold Azerbaijan and Turkey accountable for their regional aggression. “I promise you, I will always stand with Armenia,” Rep. Titus concluded.
Rep. Titus, a proud American of Greek heritage, has been a stalwart ally of the Armenian people throughout her tenure in Congress – recently leading a Congressional letter calling for an increase in humanitarian assistance to Artsakh.
Speaking on behalf of Sen. Jackie Rosen, Brendan Vargas conveyed the Senator’s strong support for the Armenian people in the face of Azerbaijan’s unabated aggression. Sen. Rosen has been a close friend of Nevada’s Armenian community and recently signed on to a letter led by Senator Markey calling for the U.S. to end security assistance to Azerbaijan.
Las Vegas Councilwoman Victoria Seaman also provided brief remarks, expressing her profound support for the Armenian community and pledging to continue her advocacy for the people of Armenia and Artsakh amidst Azerbaijan’s enduring aggression.
“As our nation stares down an existential threat, we are grateful for the devoted support our elected leaders have shown for the Armenian people – and their steadfast commitment to holding Azerbaijan accountable for its unprovoked, and unabated, aggression,” remarked ANCA Nevada Co-Chair Lenna Hovanessian.
The memorial was presided over by the Archpriest of the St. Geragos Armenian Church, Sasoon Zumrookhdian – who had recently returned from a visit to Armenia to deliver assistance to communities impacted by Azerbaijan’s latest attacks.
While a tenuous ceasefire still holds, Azerbaijan’s violence continues unabated – with strikes against Armenian civilian-populated areas being recorded as recently as this past week. Additionally, new video of horrific war crimes and human rights abuses by Azerbaijani forces continue to surface – highlighting the systematic abuse of international humanitarian law. Over 7,000 Armenian civilians have been displaced, and hundreds of homes and crucial civilian infrastructure have been destroyed as a result of Azerbaijan’s latest incursion and occupation of sovereign Armenian territory.
ANCA Nevada is currently supporting the passage of several ANCA-backed legislative items that seek to hold Azerbaijan accountable for its aggression against Armenia and Artsakh. These include: H.Res.1351, introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) condemning Azerbaijan’s attack on Armenian sovereign territory; H.Res.1400, introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) calling for an investigation into Azerbaijan’s war crimes and human rights abuses; H.Res.240 which calls for the U.S. to ensure the immediate release of Armenian prisoners of war illegally detained by Azerbaijan; and S.Res.797 which condemns Azerbaijan’s aggression and calls for the full enforcement of Section 907 restrictions on the provision of U.S. military assistance to Azerbaijan.