April 13, 2009
On the night of April 24, 1915, more than 200 leaders in the Armenian community, in the city known today as Istanbul, were arrested. Sent to prison, most were executed, beginning a horrible, systemic killing and forced relocation of the Armenian people that would last until 1923. During these years, the government of the Ottoman Empire claimed the lives of 1.5 million Armenians and forced 500,000 more from their homeland.
Those who escaped death had to flee, and many of them settled right here in California. They and their descendants have become leaders in all walks of life and have made extraordinary contributions to our state. While their presence has been and continues to be a great blessing to California, it also reminds us of the incredible evils that brought them far from their ancestral homes.
Four years ago I signed a bill that permanently recognized the Days of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. This week, we honor that commitment as we stand with our Armenian friends and neighbors here and across the world in remembering and acknowledging the genocide, the families it destroyed and the history it changed. We do not like to recall such sorrows, but we must, so that we can learn from history and renew our efforts to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim April 19-26, 2009, as "Days of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide."
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 13th day of April 2009.
Governor of California
Secretary of State