Historic Monument Dedicated to Genocide Inaugurated in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, Nev.—On Sat., Nov. 14, Armenians from Las Vegas and beyond gathered at Sunset Park for the unveiling and dedication of a monument that pays tribute to the 1.5 million Christian Armenians massacred during the 1915-23 genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks.

The monument project was the initiative of the Armenian-American Cultural Society (AACS) of Las Vegas, with the participation of all Las Vegas Armenian churches and organizations, and by the approval of the Clark County Commission.

In her opening remarks, Lenna Hovanessian, master of ceremonies, described the AACS initiative and efforts to bring this project—which was originally conceived almost 10 years ago—to fruition,. She then invited His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese, and His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy, for their invocation and message. The archbishops asked the guests to rise in observance of a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris a day earlier.

Valery Mkrtumian, deputy consul general of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles, conveyed his message and congratulated the Armenian-American community of Las Vegas for their collective efforts in achieving this dream.

Mary Beth Scow, Clark County commissioner, in whose district Sunset Park lies, stated that although the Armenian community is funding the monument project, “the entire Las Vegas community benefits because this monument allows our citizens to come to know and learn about this very sordid and shocking chapter in world history. I’m happy that the county could partner with the Armenian community to bring this project to fruition.” Clark County commissioner Chris Giunchigliani was also in attendance.

Congressman Dr. Joe Heck and Congresswoman Dina Titus both recognized this milestone and congratulated the AACS and the Armenian community for their achievement.

At the end of the ceremony, Congressman Heck said, “It was a humbling experience to join with members of the Armenian community to dedicate the Las Vegas Armenian Genocide monument. I applaud the work of the Armenian-American Cultural Society of Las Vegas in bringing this monument of remembrance to our city. I urge all Nevadans to use this monument and the memory of the unspeakable atrocities it commemorates as a lesson for the future: that we must not allow acts of intolerance and genocide to be committed and we must stand ready to stop those who would perpetrate such acts.”

Congresswoman Titus said, “It was an honor to participate in the unveiling and dedication of this monument commemorating the memory of the 1.5 million Armenians murdered by the Turks and celebrating the life of the Armenian community in southern Nevada. This beautiful monument will stand as a reminder to never forget the genocide and as an inspiration to pursue tolerance and understanding throughout the world.”

Victoria Seaman, Nevada assemblywoman, also addressed the gathering and presented a letter of commendation to the AACS. Christina Martinez represented U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and provided a copy of the U.S. Congressional Record that was read by Sen. Reid on the Senate floor on the occasion of the Armenian Genocide Centennial on April 23, 2015, which has become part of the U.S. Senate records.

Sen. Dean Heller, Congressman Cresent Hardy, and City of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman were represented respectively by Stephen Sifuentes, Arianni Valencia, and Gayle Anderson, all of whom presented letters of commendation.

Nevada Consular Corps members were also invited and honorary consuls from the United Kingdom, Japan, Sweden, Lithuania, Romania, Monaco, and Chile were all in attendance.

Steve Sisolak, Clark County Commission chair, had commented earlier, “I applaud the Armenian community for bringing this project to fruition and Clark County is proud to lend its support. The unspeakable acts endured by the Armenian people must never be forgotten. This memorial will help ensure that happens and assists in educating future generations.”

Adroushan Andy Armenian, honorary consul of the Republic of Armenia in Las Vegas, said, “Today the Armenian-American community in Las Vegas is donating this memorial monument at Sunset Park to the people of southern Nevada so that new generations remember the tragic history in order not to repeat such terrible acts in the future.”

Additionally, all major Middle Eastern churches were represented by their respective clergy. Attending were the Lebanese Maronite Church, Coptic Church, Syriac Orthodox Church, Assyrian Church, Ethiopian Church, Antiochian Orthodox Church, in addition to the Armenian Apostolic and Armenian Evangelical Churches.

Invitations were sent to Los Angeles Armenian organizations and several were present, among them the ARF Central Committee, represented by Dr. Viken Hovsepian, chairman; ARS Central Executive, represented by Rebecca Berberian, chairwoman; Hunchagian Party, represented by George Hagopyan; and Homenetmen Western Region Executive Committee, represented by Aram Yeremian.

The unveiling ceremony started with a flags presentation by Homenetmen Artsakh Chapter Scouts, and the national anthems of Armenia and the United States were performed by Maral Saccoyan. There were two national dance performances by members of the Armenian Dance Academy of Las Vegas and Armenian Dance School of Las Vegas. At the conclusion of the official program, Hovanessian asked the clergy, dignitaries, and the public to follow the procession led by the Homenetmen flag bearers to the monument site.

Clark County commissioner Scow, Congressman Dr. Joe Heck, and Congresswoman Diana Titus accompanied Archbishops Derderian and Mardirossian and the AACS Board of Directors in unveiling the boulder that contained the memorial plaque, which reads: “The Las Vegas Valley has offered hope and opportunity to those seeking to begin new lives. This memorial is a gift to the people of southern Nevada from the Armenian-American community. It is offered in honor of the one and one half million victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923. May it stand in remembrance of all genocides that have followed, and celebrate the diversity of the communities that have re-formed in this oasis in the desert.”

Hovanessian then invited local organization representatives and key donors to unveil the 12 columns of the monument. The large veil was dropped, exposing the main portion of the monument to great applause.

The third stage was the unveiling of the monument’s center, which contains the “Eternity Circle” sponsored by MaryRose Simon. Archbishops Derderian and Mardirossian accompanied by Reverends Matarian and Kassabian then blessed the monument with the Lord’s Prayer.

The ceremony concluded with the placing of carnations at the “Eternity Circle” by ARS “Shoushi” Chapter Saturday School students, Saturday School students from the Armenian Apostolic Church, dancers from the Armenian Dance Academy and Armenian Dance School, Homenetmen scouts, and members of ACYO. Thereafter the monument was open to the attending public to visit and pay tribute to the genocide victims.

Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: Historic Monument Dedicated to Genocide Inaugurated in Las Vegas

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