12:00, 24 Apr 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan

Members of the Armenian community gathered to demand justice during
a somber reflection at the Armenian Genocide Martyrs Monument in
Montebello on Thursday honoring the 1.5 million lives lost during
the genocide 100 yers ago, Pasadena Star-News reports.

Armenians from all walks of life came together in the shadow of the
first and largest Armenian genocide martyrs memorial on public land
to demand recognition of the genocide and remember the dead, but also
to proclaim that the genocide was a failure, and the Armenian culture
is alive and flourishing.

Among the multitude of dignitaries who spoke at or attended the vigil
was Congresswoman Judy Chu, D-Pasadena.

"It is so important for us to gather here, right here in the San
Gabriel Valley, in Montebello, to celebrate this 100th anniversary,"
Chu said.

At the forefront of the minds of many attendees was the lack of formal
recognition of the genocide, both by the Turkish and U.S. Governments.

Though disappointed that the administration has yet to acknowledge
the Armenian Genocide of 1915, "We will not give up our effort in
Washington D.C. to make sure that finally those that died will not
have done so in vain, and that this genocide will be remembered."

Montebello Mayor Jack Hadjinian, the grandson of an Armenian Genocide
survivor, said he struggled to contain his emotions as he assisted
in preparations for the event.

He thanked two Turkish soldiers who spared his grandfather's life
after mistaking him for a boy, rather than a young man. "That man's
grandchild became the mayor of this city," Hadjinian said to a roar
of applause.

Attendees left flowers at the base of the towering monument. Parents
explained the significance of the structure and the ceremony to
their children.

Keynote speakers for the event, hosted by the San Gabriel Valley
Chapter of the Armenian National Committee of America, included
renowned attorney Mark Geragos and Hayg Oshagan, a professor of
Communications at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich. Performers
including singer and songwriter Sebu Simonian of the group Capital
Cities entertained the crowd.

Additional commemorations of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian
Genocide will continue in the area this weekend. Tens of thousands
of people are expected to take part in a 6-mile march from Little
Armenia to the Turkish Consulate in The Wilshire District organized
by the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee-Western United States of
America. The Los Angeles United Armenian Council for the Commemoration
of the Armenian Genocide will hold a commemoration ceremony at noon
Saturday at the Montebello monument, 901 Via San Clemente.