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Armenian genocide memorialized on L.A.-area freeway signs

April 2, 2011 |  7:25 pm

Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian

It's only a sign.

But the large green sign unveiled next to the Pomona Freeway packed an emotional punch for those gathered Friday in Montebello.

"Armenian Genocide Martyrs Monument Next Exit," it reads.

A pair of the directional signs, authorized by the state Legislature, point the way to a memorial tower above Garfield Avenue that commemorates the attempt a century ago to eliminate Armenians from the Ottoman Empire.

People of Armenian descent from throughout Los Angeles gathered beneath the tower to thank state officials for recognizing their history — and for perhaps leading the way to what they hope is wider acknowledgement of the massacre of 1.5 million people.

Leaders of modern-day Turkey dispute the "genocide" label. The United States, worried about U.S.-Turkish relations, has not taken a formal position on the subject.

The directional signs will likely send "shockwaves" through those who fail to recognize the effect that the killings and deportations still have on Armenians around the world, said Grigor Hovhannisyan, Armenia's consul general.

Read the full story here.

-- Bob Pool in Montebello

At an emotional ceremony, Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian of the Armenian Apostolic Church blesses a new sign along the 60 Freeway. Credit: Bob Chamberlin, Los Angeles Times