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Armenian Culture, Science and Education Development Foundation

‘Never Again': Peace park dedicated in Boca

Culture.M Boca1

As sun-sentinel.com reports, Boca Raton’s Garden of Humanity was dedicated on the 100-year observance of the Armenian genocide, but the peace park was designed as a cautionary warning against all the genocides in history. The Holocaust message “Never Again” sits on the face of the memorial in the center of the 150-foot promenade 30 feet wide with 14 benches carved with quotes on Southeast Third Street in Royal Palm Place downtown.  Boca Raton clergy, Temple Beth El Rabbi Jessica Spitalnic Brockman and St. David Armenian Apostolic Church pastor Rev. Fr. Paren Galystan shared the invocation on April 25. Galystan said the 1.5 million Armenians who were killed in Turkey were holy martyrs.

“You now carry the stories, and we have to create a world where there are no genocides again,” Brockman said.
It took Boca Raton sculptor Yaacov Heller 14 months to design the park and 14-foot monument, financed by Jim and Marta Batmasian. The plaza is in the portfolio of their company Investments Limited. Doug Mummaw was there as the architect for the project that took 30 days to build and includes landscaping and lighting. At one end are plaques with religious symbols, from a Hamsa, the Arabic hand symbol “very popular in Israel,” said Cantor Emil Levy, to a star of David and Muslim and Christian images from ancient history.

The benches have quotes from presidents Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy, to the prosecutor at the Nuremburg trials after World War II. The four-sided monument has plaques commemorating the Holocaust and other massacres in Armenia, Austria, the Ukraine, Romania, Cambodia and Rwanda.

Marta Batmasian presided at the ceremony.
“I am an Armenian whose grandmother was a survivor and remained silent,” she said. “We are all here to raise our voices so all the atrocities will end.”

The dedication was attended by invited guests and public officials, including former  Boca Raton mayor County Commissioner Steven Abrams, county State Attorney Dave Aronberg and Deputy Mayor Robert Weinroth. State Sen. Maria Sachs, wearing purple for peace, said this was so important, she came back to Boca from a legislative session in Tallahassee and brought a proclamation.

Guests included president Mike Gora and other members of the Rotary Club of Boca Raton , and College of Arts and Letters dean Heather Colton and others from Florida Atlantic University, which offers courses and lectures on peace and conflict resolution, she said.

Also there were Arsine Kaloustian, public affairs director of Florida Armenians and Taniel Koushakjian from the Armenian-American Community organization based in Boca Raton.

“This is very important. It tells people not be silent,” said Dr. Ernest Barsamian, professor emeritus of surgery at Harvard University.

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