Photo: Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer Deborah Adishian-Astone carries a rose to be laid in the Armenian Genocide Monument. By Cary Edmondson.
Five years ago, more than four thousand gathered at Fresno State as the Armenian Genocide Monument was dedicated. Every year since then, thousands in the San Joaquin Valley gather at the monument on April 24 in remembrance of the day in 1915 when the Ottoman Empire arrested more than 250 Armenian intellectuals and leaders, beginning a series of events that resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians.
On Friday, April 24, amid COVID-19 concerns, a small group of campus leaders, photographers, and videographers assembled to record a virtual ceremony for the Armenian community. Social distancing was maintained throughout the ceremony.
In the warm Valley sun, the unamplified speeches to an unseen audience conveyed a sense that commemoration of the historic event was itself historic. As the small group entered the monument, one by one, walking clockwise before pausing, laying a rose in the center, and continuing the circle, time continues. Soon enough, this moment in history will end, and we will all be able to gather again to remember those lost and vow to stop such a tragedy from ever happening again.