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Memorial Plaque Unveiling Ceremony
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Unveiling the Memorial Plaque Dedicated to Fallen AUA Student Soldiers

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YEREVAN, Armenia — The memory of the young men who sacrificed their lives for our homeland in the 2020 Artsakh War will live on eternally at the American University of Armenia (AUA). In a solemn ceremony held on September 24, 2021, a memorial plaque was unveiled at the AUA Student Union in remembrance of our seven fallen students: Aziz Aghajanyan, Areg Gevorgyan, Hakob Hakobyan, Erik Hajikyan, Shavarsh Muradyan, Davit Virabyan, and Davit Uzunyan.

At the unveiling ceremony, AUA students, faculty, and staff joined the families and friends of our fallen soldiers to commemorate their legacy. AUA Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Brian Ellison welcomed the guests with an emotional speech, which he closed with a recitation of the bereavement poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye, “Do not stand at my grave and weep.” 

“The debt we owe these soldiers and students of AUA can never be repaid. No words can ease the pain of their loss. This is a tragedy. We will find no solace here. But we may find community and deeper meaning in our lives. By community, I mean better relationships, stronger families, and strength. Tragedy can also help us become more resilient – better able to recover and cope. We do know that our lost loved ones want us to move forward. Never forget. But continue to live. We are here to dedicate this memorial to those young men, AUA students, who made the ultimate sacrifice for us, for the members of their families, their communities, and Armenia. This memorial celebrates the lives of these young men. It is here to help us remember and never forget,” Provost Ellison noted.

To pay their respects to the seven fallen soldiers, AUA students Elizabeth Vickery (BSES ’24) and Liana Darbinyan (BSDS ’24) performed a song called “Ballad of a Soldier.” Associate Professor Dr. Hayk Nersisyan, Program Chair of the BS in Computational Sciences (BSCS) program, took the floor next to pay tribute to the fallen, separately remembering each of our heroes and expressing gratitude to the relatives of Aziz Aghajanyan, Areg Gevorgyan, Hakob Hakobyan, Erik Hajikyan, Shavarsh Muradyan, Davit Virabyan, and Davit Uzunyan for the ultimate sacrifice these brave young men have made. 

“With a sorrow born out of their absence, numerous unanswered questions, and with endless longing, we must continue to live and keep their memories alive,” Dr. Nersisyan remarked. The location of the memorial plaque is quite special, according to him. There, at the Student Union, AUA students will prepare for their classes, organize various events, and spend their free time with the smiling faces of the seven student soldiers looking at them from around the corner. 

Family and friends of the fallen AUA students also shared personal words of comfort and gratitude. Although Aziz Aghajanyan, Areg Gevorgyan, Hakob Hakobyan, Erik Hajikyan, Shavarsh Muradyan, Davit Virabyan, and Davit Uzunyan are not physically present, they are with us and their legacy lives on. We will always salute their courage and remember them with deep gratitude.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values. 

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