On Tuesday, December, 2, at 12:30 p.m. Ferrahian High School held an assembly and lunch for grades 9-12. The lunch-assembly was dedicated to the remarkable assistance the Near East Relief Committee had carried out in helping the surviving orphans of the Armenian Genocide. This assembly is part of the overall campaign “America We Thank You: An Armenian Tribute to Near East Relief Committee”, organized by the Armenian National Committee of America.
The NER was established as a direct result of the Armenian Genocide. It is the United States’ oldest Congressionally-sanctioned non-governmental organization, which for the first time in American history expressed the collective generosity and humanitarian spirit of the American people. It did so under the most challenging of circumstances, galvanizing the entire nation, and thereafter, the world, in bringing international attention to the plight of the starving Armenians during the First World War.
As part of its mass marketing campaign, and in the early 1920s, the NER initiated “Golden Rule Sunday”, where people throughout the country were asked to serve in their homes the simple menu served to the children in NER orphanages and then contribute as generously as possible to the humanitarian work of the NER. This campaign eventually became an international objective, with over 50 countries taking part in the relief effort, as well as business, church, agricultural, commercial, fraternal, labor, educational, youth, and women’s associations. Golden Rule Sunday secured over 133 national endorsements from prominent organizations around the globe, representing more than 73 million Americans who donated food, money, and clothing for the Armenian orphans and refugees.
Present at the assembly was Ms. Vanna Kitsinian of ANCA, who through a video clip and a power-point presentation, explained to the students the significance of the Near East Relief Committee and its efforts. To capture the spirit of the past, immediately following the assembly, the students were served a modest meal of a cup of soup and grilled cheese in toasted bread.
The students then received an NER greeting card so each can handwrite a message of thanks to the White House with a request to honor the country’s past efforts and urge the current administration to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide ahead of the Centennial next year.
The assembly and lunch was a memorable event.