ANI Delegation, Senior Officials Participate in Yerevan Dedication Ceremony

April 30, 1999

Yerevan, Armenia - As an urn containing earth from the gravesite of US Ambassador Henry Morgenthau was sealed in the Armenian Genocide Museum's wall of honor Friday, April 23, members of an American delegation led by the Ambassador's grandson called on the world to emulate his spirit and "be a voice against persecution any place, any time."

"The wall of honor must be a wall against silence," said Armenian National Institute (ANI) Board member Carolyn Mugar. "We must be committed to Ambassador Morgenthau's cause to stop persecution. To that end, today, we must make every effort now to stop the genocide of the Albanians."

US Holocaust Memorial Council representative Diane Asadorian echoed Mugar's words. "We, the beneficiaries of Henry Morgenthau's courageous spirit, must do the same thing for others. We must rededicate ourselves to keeping his memory alive by embodying his spirit. We must do what is right because it is the only thing to do."

Co-sponsored by ANI, the Union of Armenians of Italy and the Armenian Genocide Museum, the dedication ceremony followed a conference held in Yerevan Thursday, about the US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the time of the Armenian Genocide in 1915. Morgenthau is a national hero in Armenia where he is credited with saving many lives. He was among the first to alert the world to the atrocities.

Other speakers at the solemn yet dignified ceremony included Kitty Dukakis, also representing the US Holocaust Memorial Council. She noted that "the code of silence perpetrated by the Turks must be cracked." Dukakis added that it was "with great feelings of joy, gratitude and humility that she would continue to work to include the lessons of the Armenian Genocide."

Pietro Kuciukian, the Union of Armenians of Italy representative who initiated the effort to honor in Armenia the righteous who aided Armenians during the Genocide years, noted that "memory will always prevail and win over death."

US Ambassador Michael Lemmon pledged "to help complete Ambassador Morgenthau's vision of a free, democratic and prosperous Armenia." He said, "That is the finest memorial to all those who have gone before." "Armenia is an independent democracy... I have no doubt that here, as in America, its fine people will thrive and prevail."

National Academy of Sciences Vice-President Gevork Brutian presided over the ceremony. The Chairman of the National Assembly of Armenia Khosrov Haroutunian attended on behalf of the Government of Armenia. He said, "Every Armenian here has had some loss. We bow our heads to the victims of the Genocide."

Grandson and namesake of the late Ambassador, Henry Morgenthau III, accompanied by his two sons, Henry Ben and Kramer Morgenthau, thanked all those attending the ceremony. He said, "Your spirit of affection and respect would have pleased my grandfather. Nothing was so important to him as his association with the Armenian people."

Following the ceremonial speeches, the Morgenthau family together placed the urn in a small niche in the wall of honor. A memorial plaque was then added to mark the spot.

The chief rabbi of Armenia and Armenian Orthodox bishops said prayers in front of several hundred who, despite the steady rain, gathered in front of the wall for the service. The ceremony concluded when Henry Morgenthau, assisted by his sons, planted a tree from the Armenian Assembly of America's Tree Project, in a nearby Memorial Grove.

The ceremony preceded the annual Martyr's Day commemoration which took place Saturday. The Morgenthau delegation joined nearly half a million Armenians in mourning the 1915 Genocide, walking in a solemn procession to the hilltop memorial where they laid flowers and wreaths.

The Armenian National Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to the study, research, and affirmation of the Armenian Genocide.