The Pontian community of Norwalk in the USA has an appointment with history 110 years after the first Pontians came to Norwalk straight from Pontus as immigrants.
In a month from today, the community will be in the great place to pay tribute to the victims of the Pontian Genocide, at the first monument of its kind which will be placed in a public place in the USA.
The Pontian Genocide Memorial, a work by sculptor George Kikotis and funded by the Pontian Community of Norwalk “The Pontus”, will be located in Irving C. Freese Park in Connecticut.
The park is located in Norwalk, a “Pontian village” half an hour from Manhattan, where about 500 families live there and speak their native language.
Placing the monument in a public place in the US is not something simple, as many different public services are involved and it needs a strong lobby to push in all directions. It seems that the Pontians of Norwalk knew what they had to do and they succeeded. “For decades we fought in any way we could, and it was a one-way street for all of us. We did not accept “no” for answer. “We did not allow ourselves to be ignored as American citizens, and the right to honor our roots and our heavy history,” said Vasiliki Tsanaktsidou, a Pontian teacher.
The sculptural composition includes the Pontian lyre, the eagle of Pontus, the icon of Panagia Soumela and the verse “Romania, even if it passed, flourishes and brings more”. There is a caravan of people represented in bronze.
The plaque reads in English: “Having spread all over the world, they rebuilt their homes and lives and settled themselves and their culture thanks to their hard work and perseverance. On behalf of our grandparents, we would like to express our sincere thanks to the great city of Norwalk. Here they found a new home and the opportunity to live free, as every human being should live.”
But the monument is not just a matter of the Pontians of Norwalk but of all the Pontians.
“Let us try that day to be in Norwalk even though the conditions do not allow all of us to be there physically. We want you all by our side to share with you all that unites us and above all the honor to our ancestors and our history ” said Vasiliki Tsanaktsidou.
The Pontian Community of Norwalk “O Pontos” is preparing events in the near future and invites everyone to attend.