Their horror remembered, their culture celebrated

Lowell Sun, MA
April 25 2004

Their horror remembered, their culture celebrated
Local Armenians honor the 1.5 million killed in genocide

By STEPHANIE COYNE, Sun Correspondent

LOWELL Thomas Magarian was an infant when his mom and dad were

He lost four of his eight brothers and sisters when they were killed
along with his parents.

Luckily he doesn’t have any recollection of those horrible days, when
1.5 million Armenians were murdered some eight decades ago.

What he does remember is growing up in an orphanage in Beirut.

He smiles as he recalls a beautiful tree growing over a spectacular
Armenian church next to the home for children whose parents died in
the Armenian genocide.

Magarian is one of the few remaining survivors of the killings that
began on April 24, 1915, and lasted until 1923.

Yesterday, families of the victims gathered alongside Magarian, of
Tyngsboro, and another survivor, Bedros Shamshoyian of Lowell, to
remember Armenian Martyrs’ Day, the beginning of a period when the
Armenians were either killed or forced into exile from their

Nearly 100 people attended the event, which began with a parade down
Merrimack Street to the steps of City Hall.

Tom Vartabedian emceed the ceremony, which paid tribute to the lives
lost and declared continued efforts to persuade the world to
recognize the Armenian genocide as a crime against humanity by the
Turkish government.

“We observe this anniversary not because it will bring back the dead
or restore our desecrated church and not because our people were
violated and dehumanized,” said Vartabedian, of Haverhill. “But
because we cling to the hope that maybe through education and
understanding, similar atrocities can be avoided.”

Many families with ancestors from the Armenian genocide attended
yesterday’s event to show commitment to keeping their history alive
and pay respect to the lives that were lost.

Sona Gevorkian and her husband Allen brought along their two
children, Datev, 2, and Tsoline, 1, to show their support in getting
the genocide recognized by the world. Turkey continues to deny any

“My grandparents were survivors and I grew up hearing my
grandmother’s stories about the genocide,” said Sona, of Bedford.
“We’re trying to get it recognized for me it’s a personal thing as
well as a national thing.”

Angele Dulgarian of Chelmsford felt the same way.

She lost both grandparents and an uncle during those years of death
and destruction.

Dulgarian has attended the annual event honoring the Armenian victims
for the past 17 years and said she will continue to do so as long as

“We want to memorialize what happened,” she said. “We don’t want to
forget and we want future generations to know their history.”

Dro Gregorian, president of the Armenian Youth Federation through
Saint Gregory’s Armenian Church in North Andover, reaffirmed that

“The survivors of the genocide have rebuilt their communities and
churches and have kept their culture alive,” said Dro, of Chelmsford.
“As young grandchildren of survivors we vow to continue to keep our
rich history, religion and culture alive.”