By Mary Mukhtarian
The St. Sarkis community came together on May 19, 2018 to celebrate and commemorate the unforgettable Sartarabad victory exactly 100 years ago on May 22-29, 1918. The Armenians stood their ground against overwhelming Ottoman forces, and were able to stop them from advancing on Yerevan and Etchmiadzin, just 40 kilometers away. This led to the salvation of our nation and the rebirth of sovereignty for Armenians, clearing the way towards today’s Armenian Republic.
The evening was inspirational not only because everyone wanted to express an unbound gratitude to the heroes of Sartarabad, Pash-Abaran, and Gharakilisa and the builders of the Republic, but because we all wanted to showcase with pride the talent, competitiveness, smarts, self-confidence and exemplary behavior of the new heirs to the sacrifices of the heroes of Sartarabad.
The Kechejian Hall of St. Sarkis was decorated with the iconic images of the stone bulls at Sartarabad, skillfully created by Yeghia and Njteh Keleshian, while performers were dressed in authentic Armenian traditional outfits.
Maral Aznavourian, representing the Parish Council, welcomed all and began the program with the National Anthems of the United States and Armenia. The Groung Ensemble members sang patriotic and nostalgic songs, and performed timeless dances, accompanied by the appreciative rhythmic applause of the audience. Satenik Mouradyan Rafael dazzled on the piano with Sabre Dance. Ruzanna Harutyunyan mesmerized with her singing of Hayasdan. The whole evening was anchored with the wide-screen video presentation skillfully crafted by Diran Aznavourian, which interwove actual battle footage, recitation of famous poetry and nostalgic Armenian music to bring to life the heroism and sacrifice of our forefathers.
This vibrant community of St. Sarkis is determined to fill 2018 with celebrations along with the Republic of Armenia and the diaspora, allowing us to benefit from past communal and historic paths, and giving us the wisdom to move forward with future plans. Our St. Sarkis Church is joining the celebration with today’s Cultural Program and taking part in this national Armenian commemoration, being a witness to our collective unity, and praying that our people have Mays to celebrate victories together.
The celebration was followed by a donated traditional Armenian meal of Harissa, which was accompanied with Armenian style dishes of all types of vegetables, cheese, and lavash bread. Father Ghevond blessed the food and invited all to partake of it. The community’s hearts were open as they donated towards future cultural events of this nature.
Ms. Aznavourian thanked all the performers and soloists, the Keleshian brothers for the decoaration, Raffi Ohanian for the sound system, Sandra Morath for manning the program, Tatevig for the program, Aradi for the Armenian song video adjustments, Diran for the video and especially Susanna Khetchumyan for putting together and conducting this beautiful patriotic program.
The joyful event was so captivating, that long after the program was over and everyone had finished eating, the community was still at the Hall visiting with each other energized by the pulsing heart of St. Sarkis. We look forward to many more such cultural events in the near future.