Armenians remember what they have lost and Armenians dream of the world that will honor those they lost, Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer said while delivering remarks in Gyumri on the 30th anniversary of the 1988 devastating earthquake.
“We are humbled to represent the people of Kansas who by a twist of fate shared relationship with the amazing people of Armenia,” he said, adding that he had never dreamed that once he would return to the city of Gyumri as a Kansas governor, and would share this special day of resilience for Armenians.
“December 7 changed me forever. When I went to State Department to work and heard the news about the disaster, that morning we saw the photos of Gyumri, and how the buildings collapsed, and thousands of people were killed. I should never forget this,” he said.
Jeff Colyer recalled that they called President-elect Bush and described what happened.
“Bush said we should help. Although the Soviet Union has never accepted international assistance before, he felt it was important to help Armenia that time,” Colyer emphasized.
Seventy Americans headed to Armenia, and what they saw in the city was the scene that was difficult to imagine.
“It is one that I cannot describe but we saw something special: we met the most fantastic spirit in Armenia, the spirit of love, kindness and heroism. We met Armenians who were longing to overcome the tremendous disaster that came their way,” the governor noted. “Today when I meet Armenians around the world, I meet them as very special people with culture, science business and dignity. And here is the great lesson of 1988. When we arrived in Armenia, many of us thought that the best days were behind, and today we know that Armenia’s best days are ahead of us, and here is why. Memory may be fading from many people but Armenians remember, that is why you are special.
Armenia has touched me, my family my state and my country in a very special way. No matter what, Kansas and America will remain your friend.”