“My Roots, My Future”

Thanksgiving is an American holiday that is about celebrating about family and being thankful.  As we all know, American families are quite diverse and very different from each other.  Here is one American family story.

“My Roots, My Future”

Written by Limitless Planet Intern, Audrey Mardoian

Anyone who knows me knows that much of my life is dedicated to being Armenian. They see my Armenian flag hanging in my room, my frequent trips for youth group events or conference calls held for various committees, or see my posts on social media promoting Armenian causes. It’s not hard to tell how much of my life is dedicated to my culture; what many don’t know is why it means so much to me, why being Armenian is a constant effort of maintenance and commitment to the Armenian cause, and why I hold this obligation as a priority in my life.

The pride of growing up Armenian starts with my family’s Genocide story. Like most Armenian diasporans, both sets of great-grandparents were forced out of their homeland, in what is now considered Western Armenia in Turkey, during the 1915 massacre of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks. My father’s family eventually immigrated to the Chicago area, and my mother’s to the greater Boston area. They were left with no other option to rebuild their communities that they left so suddenly to make a new home of their own, and a future for their families. I am blessed to have grown up as a third generation Armenian in America, always having our Armenian language, religion, and culture embedded in me from a young age; it is my responsibility to carry on the legacy that my great-grandparents started. I am proud of my family’s tradition, and how we have worked to maintain this birthright.

Many components follow with this importance of being an Armenian diaspora.  Much of what Armenian organizations work towards is a “free, independent, and united Armenia.” Although Armenia is now an independent country, our lands in Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia have not been returned to us. Many Americans don’t know about such injustices like the Armenian Genocide; it is our duty to spread awareness and teach our friends, classmates, and colleagues of such events. This will be heightened as we approach the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. My great-grandparents’ fight to survive and maintain their Armenian culture is what encourages me to never give up.

There is no greater feeling of pride and connecting with my culture than visiting Armenia itself. I have visited twice with my family, and have spent two other summers living and working in Armenia. The connection felt with our homeland and people is unmatched to any previous experience. During weekend excursions to the villages in Armenia, I imagined my great-grandparents living in such conditions over a hundred years ago. Walking on the streets and hearing our language still put a smile on my face every morning I would walk to work. The people of Armenia, whether in the city or villages, always welcomed me, knowing that I was a visitor to Armenia and sharing our love for the country. After four visits to Armenia, including many morning commutes to work during my time there, Mount Ararat never loses its impact. I remember sitting in the bus to work crawling slowly up the winding mountains and staring at our mountain, now sitting on Turkish lands. It’s just another reminder of our history and the future we work towards.

The most intrinsic parts of my life have and will always exist from being Armenian; my family, friends, work-ethic, my social and organizational involvement, and someday the future of my own family. I’m proud to be a great-granddaughter of Armenian immigrants of this country, who have maintained and embraced their American freedom to continue to be American-Armenians.

Limitless Planet wishes every American family a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

May we all be thankful for our differences and share our unique experiences of what it is to be American.

Today’s blog post comes from our wonderful Limitless Planet Intern, Audrey Mardoian.