Fresno Armenians reflect and remember on 100th anniversary of genocide

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- This July, Karina Khachatourian will celebrate 20 years since opening the doors of her Northwest Fresno clothing store, A. Feliche. But Friday was a much bigger day for her and her son, a Fresno State student.

On the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, she opened her doors to fellow Fresno Armenians to remember the tragedy, and come together as a community.

"We just wanna show the world that we are big, Armenians they are big and we have a big culture," Khachatourian said.

Her son said a gathering like this is proof itself that the Ottoman Turks did not accomplish their goal of eliminating Armenians.

"They failed, they failed and we're still here and the Armenian community is huge here in Fresno," Sergeh Khachatourian said. "We've gathered to commemorate the lives that were lost at that time."

One hundred balloons were released outside the store, representing the 100 years that have passed since the genocide.

"There was also this feeling of letting go, you know, that we can put some of this pain behind us and move forward," said Fresno State Armenian Studies Professor Sergio La Porta, who spoke at the event.

But to move forward, it's important to remember. That's what Lola Hovanesian tried to tell her 4-year-old daughter at the Armenian Genocide Monument at Fresno State.

"She's just taking it in and learning as she goes," Hovanesian said.

Non-Armenians were taking it in too.A husband and wife stopped by the monument. They've spent months getting ready to sing in a chorus commemorating the genocide this weekend.

"We wanted to come and see it and see if we could get some more information," said Dan Cornelli.

Armenians also gathered at St. Paul Armenian Church Friday night. There was singing, speakers, and a moment of silence for the so many victims of the Armenian genocide.

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