Free Oral Histories for Amenian American Veterans

Contact: Gregory H. Arabian
Tel (617)926-8600
Fax (617)926-8822
Email: [email protected]

Myron Khederian took a year to give up his story. Combat engineer,
rifleman and flame thrower in WWII, he claimed he `never did anything
worth mentioning.’

When his Armenian American AMVETS Post asked him to participate in
its Oral History, Myron’s family, reading the Newsletter, urged him to
tell his story without success. One day, just before a meeting, Oral
History Director and Judge Advocate Major Greg Arabian cajoled
Myron. He persuaded him to `just tell us a few things’ about his
military experience. Myron gave an Oral History that later proved
invaluable to his family who never knew about it. A year later, Myron
died. At church, fellow veteran Arthur `Libby’ Arakelian presented the
family with Myron’s Oral History taken a few months before. Myron’s
family was flabbergasted, surprised and thankful – all at the same
time. In a letter to Major Arabian, they described how they urged him
to participate, how he repeatedly and stubbornly refused, and now, how
indescribably valuable and precious it was for them to have this
permanent taped record of his amazing military history.

`It’s always the same,’ says Arabian. `Great veterans with great
stories who won’t talk about it unless and until you cajole, persist,
insist, and gently draw it out of them. It is a gentle art.’ In less
than two years, Arabian completed over 55 Oral Histories of a Post of
mostly Armenian American combat veterans, at no charge, at no cost to
the veteran. At the expense of his professional time, he travels from
his small law office to his Post, coordinating his time with days when
these elderly veterans can make it. Every veteran receives a copy of
his Oral History in less than a week. `We lose over 1000 veterans a
day, ` says Arabian. `That means that as every day that goes by, we
lose over 1000 Oral Histories that never made it. That is why I had to
do more.’

Supported by the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress,
Arabian now conducts Oral Histories of all Armenian American veterans
of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He
has enlisted the support of a videographer, purchased camera and
recording equipment, practiced the latest techniques and refined Oral
History to an art far beyond his initial dreams. He looks everywhere
for new recruits, will go anywhere within reason to get them, and
takes great pleasure in his ever improving techniques. He simply likes
veterans. Those who know anyone of the dying breed of the Greatest
Generation and especially now, those veterans who have a story to tell
would do our country a great service by contacting him at The Armenian
American Veterans Oral History Project, 489 Mount Auburn Street,
Watertown, MA 02472 or contact him at [email protected]. You will be
pleasantly surprised.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress