April 24, 1915-2016

April 24 — and the days circling it — is always an interesting time in the life of an Armenian, especially those living outside Armenia. As we know, April 24 has become the date to symbolize, to honor, to commemorate, to mourn the Armenian Genocide. Everyone has their way of dealing with it — some protest, some go to church, some march, and some go about their day as usual to prove that Turkey really did fail. And some feel really guilty about being so far away from the Motherland.

Naturally, there’s supposed to be an underlying sadness to this day because it’s the day you’re meant to remember all the lost souls — all 1.5 million. And it’s a difficult day because not everyone around the world remembers, and more importantly recognizes the Genocide like we Armenians do. And so every year, around this time, Armenians in the diaspora get ready to rally for that recognition that is long overdue. Year after year, it can start feeling robotic to go through the motions when you feel like you want to do more … but what more is there to do all the way from here?  It’s almost become a bonding experience for diasporans.

Last year, when I had the honor of being in Armenia for the 100th Anniversary of the Genocide, I felt more at peace than I ever have around this time. I felt that as an Armenian, if we want to make a real difference, we have to be there. Because I was in the Motherland, I didn’t feel this pressure to “do something” to make up for the fact that I’m away, because I was there, in the trenches, on the battle field so to speak. And just leaving the house, walking around, sharing those experiences with our people was enough. Walking with torches alongside thousands of youth from the Hraparak to Tsitsernakaberd was one of the most epic of times. I wish I could be there again this year — I wish that every Armenian one day gets to experience being in Armenia on April 24.

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