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Flag Raising in Union City

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May 28 Celebrated in NJ

Posted by Weekly Staff

July 10, 2012

The Armenian Weekly

UNION CITY, N.J. — On Fri., May 25, city officials in Union City hosted an annual flag raising ceremony in observance of the founding of the First Independent Republic of Armenia.

This year’s observance honored the Armenian community of Union City, and included members of the Board of Commissioners along with other officials who recognized the long history and contributions of the Armenian community in Union City. The flag was raised to “Mer Hairenik” playing in the courtyard as city officials and members of the Armenian community of New Jersey looked on.

A proclamation was read and presented to Charles Kasbarian, a former resident of Union City. Kasbarian accepted the proclamation as a representative of the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of New Jersey.

Local resident Vergine Tegrarian established the annual observance 14 years ago when she presented the city with the Armenian flag used in the ceremony.

Very Rev. Vazken Karayan of Holy Cross Church in Union City concluded the ceremony with a prayer. The event was followed by a reception

May 25, 2012 Address by Charles Kasbarian

Honorable municipal officials, reverend clergy, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: I am honored to be invited to address you today on behalf of the Armenian National Committee of New Jersey, especially in view of the fact that I was privileged to be a resident of Union City for over 30 years.

We are here today to celebrate the 94th anniversary of the establishment of the First Armenian Republic. That republic was made possible by the participation of the Armenians on the side of the Allies who defeated the Central Powers in 1918. Unfortunately, that republic was to last only two years as it fell prey to the belligerence of both a communist Russia and a resurgent and unrepentant Turkey that had slaughtered one and one half million Armenian subjects of the Ottoman Empire. It took 70 years of Soviet misrule of the Armenians before they were able to throw off the communist yoke, regain their independence, and re-establish their republic in 1991.

I would like to take this opportunity to pay homage to a city that, not only provided refuge for a persecuted people, but that became a home and safe haven to many other groups as well, all of whom made a significant contribution to the advancement of the city’s welfare.

When I look at Union City, both today and during the time when I was a resident, I marvel at the ethnic diversity of its community. We have had people of German, Irish, Italian, Syrian, Armenian and Latino background. And what’s more, we all got along with each other. Why, we even had an interracial family in our midst back in the thirties and the forties who were well-integrated into our community. What’s more, they were among the most respected of the city’s families.

It is, therefore with great pride and dignity that I personally accept this proclamation on behalf of the Armenian National Committee and the entire community. Although the name Union City was designed to express the joining of two townships, Union Hill and West Hoboken, the term Union has had far-reaching consequences. I cannot think of a more fitting name for such a big little city.

May the Republic of Armenia be long-lived, yes; but may the City of Union City be equally long-lived.

Thank you.