Illinois communities hold flag raisings to commemorate Armenian Genocide

For the 109th commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, the cities of Waukegan and North Chicago in Illinois held flag raising ceremonies in solidarity with the Armenian community, the Armenian Weekly informs.

The solemn ceremonies not only honored the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide, one of the first genocides of the 20th century, but also the recent genocide committed by Azerbaijan, with the help of Turkey, against 150,000 Armenians in Artsakh.

The ceremony in Waukegan saw the unfurling of the Armenian flag for the second time, symbolizing resilience and remembrance. The Haroian family members were honored as the godfathers to the flag raising event this year. The event gathered over two dozen individuals, including Mayor Ann Taylor.

Master of ceremonies Armen Alexanian led the proceedings, setting a tone of reverence and reflection. Ken Hachikian, representing the Armenian National Committee of Illinois, delivered a powerful address, highlighting the significance of acknowledging historical injustices and standing against all forms of genocide in the present.

Mayor Taylor echoed sentiments of support and solidarity, acknowledging the importance of honoring the memory of those lost to genocide and standing against present-day atrocities. She also expressed thanks for how Armenians have helped and continue to build the Waukegan community.

After the flag blessing by Rev. Fr. Samuel Ajemian and Rev. Fr. Andreas Garabedian, the Armenian flag flew high in Waukegan.

In North Chicago, approximately 20 individuals, including Mayor Leon Rockingham Jr., gathered to pay homage to those who perished in one of the darkest chapters of human history. Led by long-time community members Artin Dermenjian and Sarkis Peltekian, honored as the godfathers of the flag, the ceremony symbolized resilience and unwavering commitment to preserving the memory of the genocide’s victims.

Alexanian guided the proceedings as the master of ceremonies, and Hachikian from the ANC-Illinois offered his reflections. Mayor Rockingham Jr. read and delivered a proclamation reaffirming North Chicago’s commitment to upholding the values of justice and remembrance. 

The communities of Waukegan and North Chicago came together to commemorate, reflect and reaffirm their commitment to never forget. The flag raising ceremonies served as poignant reminders of the resilience of the Armenians who have endured unimaginable suffering. They underscored the need to confront the past while advocating for a future free from persecution and violence. As the Armenian flag flew high in Illinois, it served as a beacon of hope and resilience, reminding all present of the enduring spirit of those who have suffered and the importance of never forgetting and never again.

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