Armenian monument finds home in Riverfront Park , Troy, N.Y. Sunday, April 7, 2013
The dedication ceremony of the new Armenian Heritage Monument in Troy's Riverfront park on Sunday, April 7, 2013
Before the granite monument erected at the site, Father Stephanos Doudoukjian of the St. Peter Armenian Apostolic Church in Watervliet asked that God have mercy on the souls of the Armenian nation's “myriad of martyrs who were executed in 1915 during the genocide in Western Armenia, Syria and other places.”
The genocide, committed by the Ottoman Empire at the onset of and after World War I to eliminate the minority Armenians, took two phases.
The first involved the decimation of the able-bodied male populace through forced labor and massacres, followed by a period where the women, children, and the elderly were sent on death marches to the Syrian Desert. Due to the extent of the killings, the breadth of genocide is hard to encompass, but it is estimated that between 1 million and 1.5 million Armenians were killed.
- The survivors that fled during and after the genocide constitute
the majority of the Armenian diaspora, some of whom settled in the Capital
District. In the intervening years, the immigrants set up businesses and founded
three Armenian churches, becoming integral parts of the local community. There
are now roughly 2,000 Armenians living and working in the area.
It has been a long and winding road for the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, the fraternal Armenian organization that has spear-headed the effort, and Ralph Enokian, co-chair of the Capital District Armenian Genocide Memorial Monument Committee.
“We started this project, this venture, this trip some eight years ago,” said Enokian.
The project was proposed to the city council, who authorized a resolution to allow for the erection of the monument, but did not designate an intended site. The committee was originally interested in Riverfront Park, but due to delays in selecting a site within the park, they began looking at other parks including Beman and Frear. However, the committee could not find a site as fitting as Riverfront Park.
Hopes for a riverside monument grew with the monument's inclusion in the park's preliminary plans, laid out in 2010. However, when the current city administration, led by Mayor Lou Rosamilia, proposed moving the monument's site, they met strong resistance from the Armenian community. Continued...