Today, we join the global community in memorializing the lives lost during the Meds Yeghern, one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century. Beginning in 1915, 1 and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in the final years of the Ottoman Empire. On this day of remembrance, we pay respect to those who suffered and lost their lives, while also renewing our commitment to fostering a more humane and peaceful world.
Every year on April 24, we reflect on the strong and enduring ties between the American and Armenian peoples. We are proud of the founders of the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief, a ground-breaking effort established in 1915 that provided crucial humanitarian support to Armenian refugees, and grateful for the thousands of Americans who contributed or volunteered to help Armenians expelled from their homes.
On this day, we bear witness to the strength and resiliency of the Armenian people in the face of tragedy. We are fortunate that so many Armenians have brought their rich culture to our shores and contributed so much to our country, including decorated soldiers, celebrated entertainers, renowned architects, and successful businesspeople.
We welcome efforts by the Armenians and Turks to acknowledge and reckon with their painful history. On this day, we believe it is our obligation to remember those who suffered and perished and reaffirm our commitment to protecting vulnerable religious and ethnic minorities around the world.