The Armenian Youth Federation of Western United States held a community-wide candlelight vigil at Artsakh Avenue in Glendale on September 27th to honor the martyrs of the war waged against the Republic of Artsakh last year.
In her remarks AYF-WUS Central Executive member, Karine Khodanian addressed the intentions behind Azerbaijan’s aggression. “It has been a year since the global Armenian community was changed eternally, as our people witnessed the very same tactics used during the Armenian Genocide throughout the war that was tainted with war crimes and ethnic cleansing” said Khodanian. “As pan-Turkic sentiment grows in Armenia’s neighboring countries, we must be vigilant and aware that the war and its motives are far from over,” she concluded.
The event’s program included solemn performances by AYF members artist Krista Marina Apardian and guitarist Gregory Balalian; followed by performances by Araxia Varteressian, who dedicated her interpretations to the memories of the fallen.
“The return to Shushi, Talish, Hadrut, and Karvachar is up to us. The strength and will of our people are in our hands. Our peoples’ rightful sovereignty and self-determination falls on our shoulders,” said Jibid Melkonian during her speech on behalf of the AYF-WUS. “The Armenian youth call on our communities to make the unbreakable promise that the sacrifices of our fallen heroes will not be in vain,” concluded Melkonian.
Following a prayer for the souls of the martyrs by Reverand Father Movses Shannakian, attendees lit candles in honor of loved ones and compatriots who made the ultimate sacrifice at the altar of freedom for and defense of Artsakh; as well as for those who are currently held captive in Azerbaijan.
The AYF called on the gathered to honor those who gave their lives for our nation by continuing their work and standing alongside our compatriots in Armenia – in pursuit of justice and a safe, free, independent and united Armenia.
The evening concluded with participants singing “Verkerov Li.”
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and the most influential Armenian-American youth organization in the United States, working to advance the social, political, educational, and cultural awareness among Armenian-American youth.