Armenian American Veteran Visits WWII Memorial for the First Time
October 20, 2015
By Danielle Saroyan
Armenian Agenda Associate Editor
On October 20, World War II Veteran Kenneth Abrahamian took part in an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., where he saw the National World War II Memorial for the first time. Abrahamian flew to Washington, along with 63 other WWII Veterans from California’s Central Valley, from Bakersfield to Stockton. He was accompanied by his son and grandson, Kenneth Abrahamian Jr. and Kenneth Andrews Abrahamian.
Machinist Mate 3rd Class Abrahamian grew up in Fresno, California, where his family went to escape the Armenian Genocide in 1915. Following his high school graduation, he enlisted in the United States Navy to serve his country in WWII from 1942-1946. MM Abrahamian was stationed in the Pacific as a machinist mate aboard the USS Spangler and the USS Ajax.
“During the war, I felt like a normal American serving his country. I never expected a special flight to D.C. and this touching Memorial. I am grateful to be able to see it,” MM Abrahamian told Armenian Agenda. “And I am so honored to be here at the Memorial and experience this with both my son and grandson,” he said.
MM Abrahamian was not the only veteran in his family. His three brothers, Gabe, Richard, and Leon, also served during WWII. Gabe Abrahamian served as a civilian welder in the Pearl Harbor Navy, Richard Abrahamian served in the Marines in Guam, and Leon Abrahamian served in the Navy.
MM Abrahamian has been honored in the past for his service during WWII. On September 9, 2013, Representative Jim Costa (D-CA) recognized MM Abrahamian in the House of Representatives for his service and WWII Medals. He is the recipient of the Philippine Liberation Medal, WWII Victory Medal, WWII Asiatic Pacific Medal, Navy Good Conduct Medal, and American Campaign Medal. Following his visit to the WWII Memorial, Representative Costa will host MM Abrahamian, his son, and grandson and treat them to dinner.
Honor Flight is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing America’s veterans with honor and closure by visiting memorials built for their service to the nation. Honor Flight was co-founded by Jeff Miller and Earl Morse. Morse is a physician assistant and retired Air Force captain who worked in a Department of Veterans Affairs clinic in Springfield, Ohio, where he saw many patients who were WWII veterans. To his surprise, most veterans have never been to the National WWII Memorial and had no plans to visit in the future. In order to honor America’s veterans, Miller and Morse formed the Honor Flight, a free arrangement to travel to Washington, D.C. and see the war memorials. Today, Morse was at the National WWII Memorial welcoming the Central Valley Honor Flight and thanking each of the veterans for their time served defending the United States.
Photo Caption 1: Group photo of the Central Valley Honor Flight, consisting of 64 World War II Veterans (red jackets) and their guardians (navy blue jackets) at the National World War II Memorial.
Photo Caption 2: Veteran MM Kenneth Abrahamian with his son, Kenneth Abrahamian Jr., and grandson, Kenneth Andrews Abrahamian, next to Armenian Assembly Public Affairs Associate Danielle Saroyan at the National World War II Memorial.
Photo Caption 3: Veteran MM Kenneth Abrahamian at the National World War II Memorial.
Photo Caption 4: Honor Flight Co-founder Earl Morse thanking Veteran MM Kenneth Abrahamian for his service during WWII.
Photo Caption 5: Veteran MM Kenneth Abrahamian taking a photo with a young student who created a thank you card for him.