This week marks the 101st anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Scholars cite 1915 as the year when the Ottoman Turkish government began a systematic execution of Armenians living in what is today modern Turkey. An estimated 800,000 to 1.5 million people were killed during and after World War I. An Armenian population settled in Fresno and became part of the fabric of the central San Joaquin Valley.
A number of events are planned starting Wednesday to mark the anniversary:
Wednesday, April 20
Screening of “The Cut” immediately followed by a candlelight vigil at the Armenian Genocide Monument at Fresno State, 5241 N. Maple Ave., near the Satellite Student Union. 6 p.m.
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Friday, April 22
Commemoration and flag-raising at the Fresno City Hall flag pole, 2600 Fresno St. Invocation, speakers include Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, and activist Raffi Hamparian, and the Sounds of Freedom Band will perform. The flag will be raised by Homenetmen Scouts and Fresno High School JROTC. 9-11 a.m.
Commemoration in front of the Armenian Genocide Monument at Fresno State. Dr. Matthew Jendian, chair of the Department of Sociology at Fresno State, will deliver the keynote address. The program will also feature recitations and musical performances. Noon-2 p.m.
Saturday, April 23
Every 30 minutes music will be played by Saint Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church Bell Choir of Washington, D.C. Those in attendance can place flowers by the Memorial of the Unknown Armenian Martyr and Soghomon Tehlirian Monument. Ararat and Masis cemeteries, 250 N. Hughes Ave., Fresno. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Religious and civic service at the First Armenian Presbyterian Church, 430 S. First St., Fresno. With speaker Vahram Shemmassian, the Homenetemen Scouts will begin the program with a processional down the aisle of the sanctuary and will place the Armenian and American flags. The Charlie Keyan Armenian Community School students will sing the Armenian and American national anthems and few other Armenian songs. A reception will take place in the social hall following the program. 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 24
Every 30 minutes music will be played by Saint Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church Bell Choir of Washington, D.C. Ararat and Masis cemeteries, 250 N. Hughes Ave., Fresno. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Honoring the saints and celebrations of lives, Armenian Genocide Monument at Fresno State. Attendees are encouraged to bring and lay flowers at the monument in remembrance of lives that were lost. There will be models dressed in traditional Armenian costumes from different regions of Armenia, children will perform traditional Armenians dances, musical performances, and crafts for children. 2-4 p.m.