April 9, 2014 - 14:46 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - As the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey approaches, churches across Metro Detroit are preparing to memorialize those who were lost and those who suffered. Parishioners from four Metro Detroit churches will hold a commemoration ceremony at 7 p.m. April 24 at St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church in Dearborn, The Detroit News reported.
The commemoration will capture stories of the hardships, like those in the life of the Genocide survivor Ramela Carman. Carman was just a baby in 1915, when the Turkish government began exterminating Armenians or exiling them to other parts of the Ottoman Empire. Her father was a skilled tradesman who had to flee for his life, leaving his family behind and disguising himself as a Turk in order to survive.
“My father, for a long time, we know he’s someplace but we don’t know where he is,” said Carman, who turns 100 today and taught herself English after moving to Michigan in 1960. “
Later on, Carman’s family was reunited, but her father died of kidney failure soon after, forcing Carman to starting working at age 12.
Carman says she has never forgotten the Genocide and the impact on her life. “My father’s brothers, my mother’s brothers, all gone. My family, all gone. Still I don’t believe it. This is Armenian life.”
The commemoration ceremony will include a requiem service and parishioners will go outside to light candles near a monument for the martyrs, said the Rev. Hrant Kevorkian, pastor of St. Sarkis.
“The importance of the Genocide is that it’s related to each of us,” Kevorkian said of the Armenian population in Metro Detroit. “One way or another, the reason we are here today is because of the Genocide and being pushed off our land and moving around the world.”