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Council Approves Armenian Genocide Memorial at Memorial Park

Much of the Council's debate focused on the Memorial's location; the vote came about 11 p.m. and was met by a standing ovation

Published on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 | 3:48 am

The Pasadena City Council voted unanimously to install an Armenian Genocide Memorial at Memorial Park on Monday at about 11 p.m. to a standing ovation in the packed chamber.

The installation of the statue in Memorial Park is scheduled to be completed by April 24, 2015, the 100th anniversary for of the genocide, in which, over a course of three years – from 1915 to 1918 –  more than 1.5 million people died under the Ottoman Empire.

Seeing a  mock up set up in the spot in Memorial Park last Wednesday sealed the decision for many of the council members who had previously been worried about its obtrusiveness there.

“I’m over whelmed I’m so gratified that it was a unanimous vote. We weren’t quite sure what to expect,” former Pasadena Mayor William Paparian said.

The majority of 36 people who spoke before the council during the meeting favored the installation, while 93 other people who attended showed support through a petition submitted to the council.

Former City of Pasadena Chief of Police Bernard Melekian, a member of the Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee, said he is happy with the council’s decision.

“I am honored that the Council did this, that they recognized the importance of it and that it really is for the whole city, not just for a section of the city,” Melekian said. “This is really for my father and my grandparents whom I never even met.”

Judge Dickran Tevrizian, a former chair of the committee, said “the proposed memorial reflects global and international values of life, human rights, and deterrence of crime against humanity. It (the memorial) helps to promote peace and civility, and conforms to the shared values of members of the Pasadena community.”

The memorial, which is based on the design of the Art Center College of Design student Catherine Menard, will feature a carved-stone basin of water straddled by a tripod arrangement of three columns leaning into one another, where a single drop of water will fall from highest point every three seconds. Each “teardrop” will represent one life lost during the Armenian Genocide.

“I am still in disbelief. I am moved, I’m shocked, I’m elated, I know that the real work starts now. Right now I just want to hug and kiss everybody. I truly feel like I’ve been welcomed into this family,” Artist Catherine Menard said.

“The greater good prevailed and nothing’s ever perfect but I think it’s appropriate in the Memorial park,” Vice Mayor Jacque Robinson said, who had the strongest reservations about the location.

“As a community member, as a board member, as a kindred spirit of the recognition and growing up in New Jersey with the legacy of Woodrow Wilson and the Armenian Genocide.” said former State Assemblymember Anthony Portantino. “It’s just terrific for the Armenian American community and I think for the greater community to see such care give to the recognition to the loss of 1.5 million people. The design is dramatic and poignant so that it brings a tear to your eye and tonight is a celebration that brings a tear to your eye.”

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