(LA, United States)
It was the final hours of one of the Volunteers. I asked him what I always ask everyone in their final moments “What haven’t you done yet?” The idea of Monte Melkonyan’s grave came into mind. So all three of us decided to head on there right that moment!
It was a dream come true, I was finally going to see the person’s grave who I owe my inspiration to. For not his life, I would not believe that an American-Armenian can receive the highest honors of the Armenian people. To think I would actually place a flower and pour vodka over his grave, and to meet his comrades and his cousin!I was standing alone, a few men from behind came up to his grave. I didn’t want to move away, or attract any attention, I was not in the mood for conversation. This grown man goes to his knee’s and kisses Monte’s engraved picture. “Avo jan, parkel axper. 00 vorthex es 00.” My heart literally stopped. I couldn’t say a word. I walked away and sat on the bench. Tears were in my eyes, I couldn’t speak. What I just witnessed was so beautiful and sad, I couldn’t swallow what just happened. Monte’s comrade paid respects to his grave. The same comrades who fought along side him with Artsakh, the ones I read about in all his books! So magical.
The three of us got to meet these men, and one of them revealed that he was Monte’s cousin. We told them about our lives and why we were in Armenia. Monte’s cousin was so impressed and moved by our actions, he kissed us multiple times throughout our encounter. We shared a bottle of vodka in honor of the fallen soldiers and Monte. He even invited us for dinner right after!