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State Representative honors Armenian heritage at annual flag raising ceremony


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WESTFORD — The following press release was shared with WestfordCAT from Rep. James Arciero’s office for publication and distribution.

State Representative James Arciero recently joined local residents of Armenian-American descent to raise the Armenian flag on the Westford Town Common, commemorating the 108th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Representative Arciero joined with John and Violet Dagdigian, of Westford, and Ara and Milka Jeknavorian, of Chelmsford, and other members of the Armenian community who are Armenian-American descendants of genocide survivors as they publicly shared personal stories of the effects of the massacre at the flag-raising ceremony. 

The Armenian National Committee of the Merrimack Valley has been active in raising awareness of the 1915 Armenian Genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire is doing so by organizing flag-raisings and municipal proclamations in communities throughout the Merrimack Valley and New Hampshire. 

“It’s an honor to stand next to Armenian-Americans and hear their tragic stories as well as perseverance,” said Representative Arciero, who provided a Massachusetts Resolution for the occasion. “We gather to remember a dark past and to work for a brighter future for all people, free of discrimination and hate, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or national origins.”

The Armenian Genocide saw the systematic killing and oppression of over a million-and-a-half Armenian people by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1920. The genocide included mass deportations, death marches, Islamization and confiscation of personal property. 

There are an estimated 2 million Americans of Armenian heritage and/or family ties to the genocide, according to a 2021 Reuters report. United States President Joseph Biden formally recognized the event in April of 2021, breaking from previous White House traditions regarding the matter.

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