GLENDALE, CA – The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western United States of America hosted the ARF 132nd Anniversary commemoration event on the evening of February 19, at the landmark Alex Theatre in Glendale. A capacity crowd including elected officials, leaders of Armenian-American community and spiritual organizations, and thousands of members and supporters attended the event or viewed it streaming live worldwide. The event was hosted by the Central Committee of the ARF Western United States.
The event was opened with a flag raising ceremony by the official Homenetmen Western United States color guard and marching band, during which the flags of the United States, Armenia, Artsakh, and ARF were ceremoniously situated on the stage, and was followed by the playing of the national anthems of the United States, Armenia, and Artsakh, and the hymn of the ARF, Mshak Banvor.
The Master of Ceremonies for the event, Garo Madenlian, then proceeded to recognize the dignitaries present at the event and made opening remarks. He then invited Nareg Kuyumjian to speak on behalf of the Armenian Youth Federation Western United States (the entirety of all remarks are available in the video of the event, which is linked to at the end of this article).
Kuyumjian’s moving remarks imparted the essence of what it means to be a “Dashnaktsakan”– selfless service to the Armenian cause through unwavering dedication to the ARF’s program, statutes, and decisions. A brief video highlighting the AYF’s activities was shown immediately thereafter, followed by Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America being invited to offer his remarks.
Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America
Hamparian delivered a powerful message about the resilience of the Armenian nation and the organization born of its people, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. He expressed his conviction that the Armenian nation and the 132 year old organization that serves it, in whatever capacity it is called upon to do so, will defeat the machinations of external forces and treachery by internal forces, whose aim is to turn Armenia into a mere pawn in their foreign agendas.
The next speaker was Daron Der-Khachadourian, Chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western United States Central Committee, who delivered remarks on behalf of the 132 year old organization’s regional leadership body. In his remarks, Der-Khachadourian discussed the importance of remaining focused on selfless work and thanked the thousands of dedicated members and supporters of the organization in the Western United States, who have remained steadfast in their support to the unified worldwide organization. Der-Khachadourian’s remarks were followed by a speech delivered by video from ARF Supreme Body of Armenia Chairman and Former Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Ishkhan Saghatelyan, who thanked the structure and body of the Western United States for its continued support of the Armenian nation, despite the obstacles created by the failed and treasonous government in Armenia.
Daron Der-Khachadourian, ARF Western U.S.A. Central Committee Chairman
Throughout the evening, the duo of Tro Krikorian (vocals) and Ara Dabaghian (guitar) along with the “Lernanzang Ensemble” performed a variety of traditional and revolutionary folk songs and dances
His Grace Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Primate of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America also delivered remarks, thanking the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and praising its 132 years of service to the Armenian nation and people, whether in the homeland or the Diaspora.
H.G. Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Primate of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America
The final and key-note speaker of the evening was Hagop Der-Khatchadourian, Chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau, the highest executive body of the worldwide organization. Der-Khatchadourian stated that it is customary for the ARF to report on its activities and initiatives during such annual ARF day events. He expressed that Armenia was a victorious nation until the fall of 2020, which was suddenly and dramatically changed by the 44 day Artsakh war and the treasonous capitulation by the current Armenian regime that followed. The ARF Bureau Chairman outlined the ARF’s positions on the existential crises that endanger Armenia and Artsakh, highlighting that the organization will never accept to allow Artsakh to become a part of Azerbaijan and that the ARF will continue in all its activities to help forge new victories for the Armenian nation and people.
After Der-Khatchadourian’s remarks, it was announced that on the previous day, the organization had replenished its ranks in the region during an oath ceremony accepting new members and that on this night, several dozen youth would be joining the organization’s youngest affiliate organization, the AYF Juniors. Aram Hamparian served as the honorary “Godfather” who initiated the newest members of the ARF family by administering their recitation of pledges.
Finally, the evening was closed with spirited performances by renowned singer of Armenian national and revolutionary songs, Karnig Sarkissian, who concluded with the customary singing of the national-revolutionary song “Aryunot Drosh.”
The full video of the event is available at the following link: