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The Knights of Vartan Vahan Lodge #44, Orange County California, recently completed a fundraising activity specifically for the purpose of making a contribution to the mission of the Fuller Center for Housing in Armenia. The fundraising activity, a raffle with cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, culminated in a raffle drawing held on May 3, in the presence of a large majority of the Vahan Lodge Tivan members, including Commander Anton Markarian; of course, all were fully compliant with social distancing criteria and personal health safety guidelines!

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Armenian monument finds home in Riverfront Park , Troy, N.Y. Sunday, April 7, 2013

TROY — On a plot of land behind the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Riverfront Park, local officials and members of the Armenian community gathered Sunday to dedicate a monument recognizing Armenians killed during the Armenian genocide, and the survivors whose descendants settled in the Capital District.

Before the granite monument erected at the site, Father Stephanos Doudoukjian of the St. Peter Armenian Apostolic Church in Watervliet asked that God have mercy on the souls of the Armenian nation’s “myriad of martyrs who were executed in 1915 during the genocide in Western Armenia, Syria and other places.”

The genocide, committed by the Ottoman Empire at the onset of and after World War I to eliminate the minority Armenians, took two phases.

The first involved the decimation of the able-bodied male populace through forced labor and massacres, followed by a period where the women, children, and the elderly were sent on death marches to the Syrian Desert. Due to the extent of the killings, the breadth of genocide is hard to encompass, but it is estimated that between 1 million and 1.5 million Armenians were killed.

The survivors that fled during and after the genocide constitute the majority of the Armenian diaspora, some of whom settled in the Capital District. In the intervening years, the immigrants set up businesses and founded three Armenian churches, becoming integral parts of the local community. There are now roughly 2,000 Armenians living and working in the area.

It has been a long and winding road for the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, the fraternal Armenian organization that has spear-headed the effort, and Ralph Enokian, co-chair of the Capital District Armenian Genocide Memorial Monument Committee.


“We started this project, this venture, this trip some eight years ago,” said Enokian.

The project was proposed to the city council, who authorized a resolution to allow for the erection of the monument, but did not designate an intended site. The committee was originally interested in Riverfront Park, but due to delays in selecting a site within the park, they began looking at other parks including Beman and Frear. However, the committee could not find a site as fitting as Riverfront Park.

Hopes for a riverside monument grew with the monument’s inclusion in the park’s preliminary plans, laid out in 2010. However, when the current city administration, led by Mayor Lou Rosamilia, proposed moving the monument’s site, they met strong resistance from the Armenian community.

Last September, roughly seven years after the city council passed the resolution allowing for a monument, Rosamilia announced that it would be placed in Riverfront Park, where it now resides with a clear view of the Hudson River.

Enokian, one of the original members of the group which has spear-headed the memorial effort, has a personal reason to support the near decade-long effort.

His grandparents were both murdered in the genocide. His mother and aunt too, were captured by the Ottoman soldiers, but survived. After escaping from from the country, they lived in different orphanages before eventually finding their way to the United States.

Given that, it’s not difficult to understand his sense of pride at witnessing the project’s completion.

“We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished,” said Enokian. “We’re also very appreciative of having worked with the city of Troy and having the city of Troy work with us.”

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