Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, government officials, authorities and representatives of the Armenian community in Ohio all attended the event. Jackson presented a proclamation to Cleveland-area Armenians. He noted in the proclamation: “On September 21, 1991, Armenia restored its independence, becoming the first republic proclaiming independence from the then Soviet Union, and did so without any support or tacit agreement with any foreign power.”
The declaration notes the fact that Armenia has become a strong, flourishing and safe country, and at the same time, defended the Independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. It was also noted that Cleveland is proud to have an Armenian community with cultural, religious and social values.
“I was very proud of Cleveland for recognizing the 21st anniversary of Armenian independence. My heart soared when I saw the Armenian flag flying over City Hall,” said George Asadorian, an ANCA activist in the Cleveland area.
He addressed the crowd and spoke of how proud the ancestors of those gathered would be of Armenia’s independence and America’s recognition of it.
“Such strong Armenian American grassroots participation and political support in Ohio’s biggest city really speaks to our community’s growing activism in a swing state set to play a pivotal role in this November’s elections,” said ANCA Eastern Region Executive Director Michelle Hagopian.
“We join with ANCA activists, community supporters and Armenian allies in the Buckeye State in celebrating Armenia’s independence and reaffirming the longstanding bonds and enduring values that have long brought together our two nations.”
Ohio Governor John Kasich and Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor also issued a proclamation acknowledging September 21 as Armenia’s Independence Day. The text read: “We greatly appreciate the contributions that the Armenian community has made to our state through community, business, and economic development. In Ohio, we are proud to be home to many different ethnic groups that add to our state’s cultural diversity.”
“Tonight, we applaud the event organizers, as your support has helped to increase the awareness of Armenia’s Independence Day. In behalf of all Ohioans, we thank you for the positive influence your community has had on our great state.”
In addition, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH-10) released a proclamation. In it, he states: “Cleveland is home to a strong Armenian community which has succeeded in preserving their heritage while wholeheartedly supporting American society, thereby contributing to the unique richness and diversity of our national culture.”
Pianists Nara Avetisyan and Hrant Bagrazyan each played Armenian compositions at the ceremony while guests enjoyed wine. Fr. Hratch Sargsyan, pastor at St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Church, spoke, as well as several other prominent individuals, including Congressman Kucinich’s spokesman Michael Patterson, who presented Rep. Kucinich’s proclamation at the celebration.
The event was hosted by both Jackson and the Armenian Independence Day Celebration Committee. It was held in the rotunda of city hall from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
For photos from the event, go to the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Eastern U.S. photo page here.
Photo Caption: Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson with St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Church Pastor Fr. Hratch Sargsyan.