Commemorating the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide Cleveland City Hall April 24, 2015
The Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Ohio put on a program in the Rotunda of Cleveland City Hall to educate people about the events of 100 years ago. The Rotunda was standing room only as people met to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide and honor the memory of the 1.5 million Armenians who perished.
The committee is focused on raising awareness about the Armenian Genocide to prevent future genocides worldwide.
After an opening reception, Kevan Asadorian, Chairman of the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Ohio, welcome the crowd.
He said "The world is starting to wake up. Our goal is to educate everybody what happened 100 years ago."
Maral Demirjian accompanied by Ari Terjanian led the US National Anthem. Rafi Avitsian MD accompanied by Ari Terjanian then led the crowd in singing the Armenian National Anthem.
Kevan Asadorian introduced the MC for the evening, Russ Arslanian.
Arslanian spoke of hope that the Armenian Genocide would finally be recognized as just that, genocide. He told of his own family's suffering and murder at the hands of the Turks. He was gratified by Pope Francis calling the Armenian massacre genocide and spoke of the long and ongoing history of Christian martyrdom in the region.
Fr. Hratch Sargsyan called on fellow Clergy to lead the prayers together at the Commemoration of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide. After the prayers there was a moment of silence to remember the victims of the genocide.
A video titled "100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide" was shown and then Ohio State Senator Kenny Yuko, State Representative Bill Patmon and Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman spoke.
Yuko presented a resolution from the Ohio Senate.
Ohio State Senator Kenny Yuko
Kenny Yuko and Russ Arslanian
Patmon said the genocide was the worst thing in history he has heard of it. We say 'Never Forget' but in 1915 "We forgot."
Ohio State Representative Bill Patmon
Bill Patmon and Russ Arslanian
Cimperman spoke of the evil in the world and wondered what his Slovenian parents would have wanted him to do.
Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman
Douglas Kerr, MD, PhD gave the keynote speech.
Dr. Kerr told case studies from the Genocide from his father's book The Lions of Marash: Personal Experiences with American Near East Relief, 1919-1922. The Lions of Marash: Personal Experiences with American Near East Relief, 1919-1922 is an eye-witness account by an American Near East Relief official of the tragic events which resulted in the annihilation of the Armenian population of Marash, in Central Anatolia.
Douglas Kerr and Kevan Asadorian
This was followed by a few cultural performances. Ruzanna Babayan recited the poem "We are few but we are Armenians" by Paruyr Sevak.
The Armenian song Hayastan was performed by Sona Baghdasaryan, Maral Demirjian, Serop Demirjian and Rafi Atvitsian MD accompanied by Ari Terjanian.
Sona Baghdasaryan, Maral Demirjian, Serop Demirjian and Rafi Atvitsian MD
Ari Terjania on piano
Hrant Bagrazyan performed Yerangi, Marali, and Komitas on piano.
In his closing prayer, Fr. Hratch Sargsyan said, "We now have an additional 1.5 million saints praying for us today." He told the people to leave with their heads high because they are not victims; they are descendants of the survivors.