Thursday, May 28, 2009

Armenian Independence Day

Today is the 91st anniversary of Armenia's independence, a day we mark with bitter-sweet memories and an asterisk.

The birth of the Democratic Republic of Armenia on May 28, 1918 almost defies belief, coming a mere three years after the devastating peak of the Armenian Genocide. Tiny, impoverished, awash in hunger and disease, Armenia had no logical claim to existence.

Yet, it did exist -- like a dream to the tattered refugees who found shelter there.

And like a dream, it ended suddenly. The Republic fell in December 1920, crushed between Turkish and Soviet armies.

The asterisk is required because Armenia has two Independence Days. The current Republic of Armenia came into being on Sept. 21, 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

But Armenians around the world still pause to remember the tragically short yet inspiring story of the First Republic, a reminder that miracles can be made to happen.

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