Wednesday marked the 104th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Hundreds from around the valley joined city leaders, religious leaders and dignitaries in a series of events.
It culminated on the campus of Fresno State at the Armenian Genocide monument.
Speeches and tributes headlined the commemoration where the scars of the 1.5 million lives lost is still at the fore-front of the Armenian community
It was a day of reflection and remembrance.
“We’re commemorating the Armenian genocide and we’re at the location of the only Armenian Genocide monument on a university campus,” Joseph Castro president of Fresno State said.
The crowds spanned generations — all brought together laying flowers and taking in tradition.
“It’s a togetherness of all of us in the United States. We’re all family,” Helena Samourian said.
“My grandfather was a survivor and the personal stories of my grandfather — my grandfather’s story was really horrendous,” Alain Ekmalian said
He said his grandfather watched his own mother’s murder along with other horrifying acts. “What bothers me is countries that do not accept that this has happened,” he said.
Elected officials were also in attendance speaking out, pushing for recognition of the genocide.
“It’s important that we never, ever forget,” Fresno congressman Jim Costa said.
Ekmalian said this anniversary touches him every year when he remembers what his family went through.
“Hearing those stories and I’m trying to pass that on to my family, to my relatives that are a young generation,” he said.
Congress has yet to recognize the Armenian Genocide but Costa and others continue to push. He said he’s hopeful it will happen this year.