Governor of the State of California.
April 24 Declaration
Ninety years ago today, the Ottoman Turkish government waged a war of terror on Armenian culture through the brutal deportation, imprisonment and decimation of men, women and children of Armenian descent.
By 1923, the Ottoman Empire had dissolved, but its monstrous attempt at ethnic cleansing left more than 1.5 million Armenians massacred and 500,000 survivors forcibly exiled from their ancestral homeland.
Today, the Republic of Armenia remains as the world's reminder of the Armenian Genocide and of the indestructible spirit of a people. It is a nation founded on the principles of freedom and democracy that we as Americans prize above all else. Our state's flourishing Armenian-American population - the largest outside of Armenia - has left its indelible stamp on our state's history, industry and culture.
Each year, the Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide brings an opportunity for all people to scrutinize the cause and consequence of this grim massacre. To carve out a secure future free from intolerance and persecution, we must examine the past and heed history's lessons of forewarning - for the sake of future generations who inherit our civilization.
In 1969, then-Governor Ronald Reagan said, "Today, I humbly bow in memory of the Armenian martyrs, who died in the name of freedom." On the 90th anniversary of this great human tragedy, Californians continue to join with freedom-loving people around the world to honor the Armenian people as they continue to show the world the true meaning of hope, renewal and perseverance.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim April 24, 2005, as a "Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide."
April 24, 1915, marked the beginning of the Armenian Genocide - a crime against humanity that led to the death of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923. The 500,000 Armenians who survived the horrors of this extermination by the Ottoman Empire were expelled from their homes and forced to settle in various countries throughout the world.
Stripped of their possessions, these refugees carried with them little more than the memories of loved ones, a hope for a better life and the courage to start anew. Armed with this determination, they flourished in many of their adopted homelands, including California - home to the largest Armenian population outside of the Republic of Armenia.
Today, these Armenian survivors and their descendants continue to provide tremendous leadership and invaluable contributions to our state's businesses, art community, and academic, governmental and cultural institutions. Their spirit of hard work and perseverance, coupled with their dedication to tradition, is a great example to all Californians and adds to the luster of our Golden State.
As we commemorate the ninety-first anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we must study and learn history's lessons, fight to end bigotry and hate in all their forms and live lives of tolerance towards all people. Silence only serves to perpetuate the denial of the past, while open acknowledgement lays the foundation for a more hopeful tomorrow. In that spirit of hope, I stand alongside our friends in the Armenian community in recognizing the Armenian Genocide, and urge all freedom-loving people in America and around the world to do the same.
Now, therefore,, I, Arnold Swarzenegger, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim the week of April 23rd through April 29th, 2006, as "Days of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide."
/s/ Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor of California