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Chamlian students take a walk to commemorate 101st anniversary of Armenian Genocide

Chamlian Armenian School second-grade students lay carnations during the annual Armenian Genocide Commemorative Walk to the Armenian Western Prelacy Headquarters in La Crescenta on Thursday, April 7, 2016. At the headquarters, the students laid down carnations at an Armenian Genocide Memorial.

Chamlian Armenian School second-grade students lay carnations during the annual Armenian Genocide Commemorative Walk to the Armenian Western Prelacy Headquarters in La Crescenta on Thursday, April 7, 2016. At the headquarters, the students laid down carnations at an Armenian Genocide Memorial.

(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Students who attend Vahan & Anoush Chamlian Armenian School in La Crescenta walked from their campus on Lowell Avenue Thursday to the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church on Honolulu Avenue to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24.

Once they arrived, each student placed a single purple carnation on a memorial being built in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide last year. The memorial will be dedicated on April 21.

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“They are the first pilgrims to this monument,” said Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian.

Afterward, Mardirossian guided the students in prayer and told them that every step they took as they walked on Thursday was a reminder of the genocide and the ongoing effort to achieve justice for the tragic event.

The students also listened as local youth leader Tro Krikorian sang patriotic Armenian songs.

Taline Kargodorian, Chamlian’s principal, said the money raised from parents who sponsored the students to walk will help pay for buses that will take the students to the Turkish Consulate on April 24 in the Rally for Justice, organized by the Armenian Genocide Committee.

More than 1.5 million Armenians died at the hands of the Ottoman Empire during the genocide, which began in 1915. The empire is now modern-day Turkey, which continues to deny that the deaths were a genocide.

“The idea is that 100 years have passed, but we’re never going to stay silent until we have justice and our lands back,” Kargodorian said, referring to the portion of eastern Turkey that was historic western Armenia.

“That’s the reason our kids are walking today as well. They’re walking in memory of the people who passed away, but at the same time, to say, ‘We’re here 100 years later.’ There’s third-, fourth-generation kids here and they still want to keep the memory alive,” he added.

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Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com

Twitter: @kellymcorrigan

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