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Community Commentary - Steven M. Shenian

July 06, 2001

States to work in Troy, N.Y., to support the family. While there, he met

Aggie's future father-in-law. They hadn't known each other before and

didn't know that their children had met and became engaged.

"From 1917 to 1919, the genocide occurred in Armenia with the invasion

of the Turks. Aggie's sister was killed. Aggie, her mother and her

fiance, Haigaz Shehanian, fled to Russia. Shortly after they arrived,

Aggie and Haigaz married.


"Meanwhile, due to the difficulty of communication, the two fathers

[my great-grandfathers] living in New York didn't know their children had

fled to safety and married. Hearing of the fighting in Armenia, both

fathers returned to their country to try and save their families. Both

were killed as part of the genocide. However, before their deaths, they

did find out from family and friends that their children had fled the

country and married.

"A year later, Aggie's first child, Lillian [Shooshan], was born in

Georgia, Russia. In September 1922, Aggie [Azniv], Haigaz and baby

Lillian came to Ellis Island on the Greek ship Acropolis."

After reading excerpts from the article, please honestly ask yourself:

What do you believe the United States government would do in the 21st

century if hundreds of its people who had legally immigrated, held jobs

and paid taxes here, went back to their homelands to rescue their

families and were slaughtered by a foreign government?

As Glendale residents and the newly appointed [Citizens Memorial

Advisory] committee members grapple in the ongoing investigation of

whether or not to erect the Armenian Genocide memorial, let me assure

those who think the Armenian Genocide was an "Armenian country problem"

that they are dead wrong. The Armenian Genocide directly involved the

slaughter of American Armenians, as witnessed by my 102-year-old


If members of the genocide memorial committee wish to contact the only

102-year-old living witness I know to the slaughtering of American

residents during the Armenian Genocide, and would like to speak with her

82-year-old baby girl Lillian, please contact me. In any case, please

broaden the scope of your investigation to include those newly arrived

Americans, such as both of my New York great-grandfathers, who were


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