To my young Homeland and its devoted freedom fighters

Our homeland is already 25 years old, it is called Armenia, it is baptized as a Christian

It was born when I was 7 years old. The crowd is flowing through the street, I see fists in the air, I hear the words “AYO” (YES), “MIATSUM” (UNIFICATION), “KARABAGHE MERN EH” (KARABAGH IS OURS) and “PAYQAR MINCHEV VERJ” (STRUGGLE UNTIL THE END)…

I suddenly find my parents in the crowd and wrap myself around my grandmother’s knees tighter. I look up to her eyes and see the joy in her eyes, a burning fire. She is smiling, but I am afraid. What am I afraid of? My grandmother is smiling, meaning there is nothing to fear…

There was something to be afraid of, but I find that out days, weeks and months later when my parents, along with 95% of the citizens of my country say YES to independence, YES to the struggle and YES to the cold and dark years to come.

The people stood up for the YES that they said, stood united as one and became a collective force. There was no electricity or heating, but there was hope and the spirit of unity of the Armenian nation.

I remember-I was in the first grade. I was just starting to adapt to sitting on the cold and dry seats at school. The school bell suddenly rings. This is not the bell to go out and play. This is kind of alarm.

With her high-heeled shoes, long hair and proud, but womanly look, the principal, Mrs. Kostanyan is waiting for us.

“Children, we all know that it is a war. Today we will learn how we need to use anti-gas masks and states of emergency in general.” We leave our lessons and classroom behind, take the anti-gas masks and start trying to put them on.

Days later, we hear another long bell. Our alert principal comes in again, runs from classroom to classroom in her high-heeled shoes and asks everyone to run outside, without their items and without panicking. It turns out that there had been turbulence outside. This time we learn what to do during an earthquake.

Even the land has gone made. Why is it rebelling? Why? Why now? There is no peace, and the winter is approaching…

Another day, another long bell, and Mrs. Kostanyan again.

“Children, it is winter, we need your parents’ help.”

Mothers sew pillows from old rags so that we don’t feel bold on the dry benches. Fathers cut trees or firewood, and the wooden furnaces that we only knew from our grandparents’ fairy tales, are placed next to us and become our inseparable “friends” in one night.

Sitting in piano class, I want to play the piano, but I can’t. My fingers are freezing. There are no furnaces here. My teacher takes my frozen fingers in her soft hands and tries to warm them with her breath…I cry…She smiles…It seems like her smile warms me, the look of warmth on her face “tells” me that everything is going to be fine…

Days later, we hear this bell, the sound for alarm again. Another interrupted lesson, empty classrooms, a packed gym, Mrs. Kostanyan. However, it is not the same. It looks like our beautiful principal has changed and is tired. She has grown old in one night and has cried. Why has she lost hope? Why is she shivering? There is silence without any demand for silence.

“Children, the soldiers on the border are starving”-her voice is shivering, but she continues with lack of confidence: “The soldiers need food.” Silence…We return to class and then home.

The next morning, there is a line in front of the teacher’s office, a line that is longer than any line for bread and butter. Despite the cold winter, it is warm, and there is an inexplicable warmth in the air. There is something that heats better than any furnace. We are sweating, and perhaps we are sweating because of the heavy burden that we carried…

Everyone brought whatever they could (bread, rice, onions and potatoes). We brought whatever we could. We wrote letters stating the following: “We are with YOU, and we have drawn suns to warm YOU, and we have drawn our hearts, hold on…”

We sing, we sing loud, we sing together, and we sing in a way as if they will hear us at the military positions, on our sacred borders, in the profane muzzle of the enemy.

Armenian freedom fighters, dear freedom fighters, you sacrificed yourselves for us…You sacrificed your lives, shed blood for our land and nation. You died so that we could live. And you are also singing because you know that we will win by singing.

Teacher of the one-day school of the Armenian Compatriotic Union of Munich

Stella Ghambaryan

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