18th Graduating Class of Armenia’s Military Academy Honored at Commencement Ceremony

President Serzh Sarkissian awards a graduate of Armenia's Military Institute a dagger (Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Armenia)

President Serzh Sarkissian awards a graduate of Armenia’s Military Institute a titular dagger (Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Armenia)

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—President Serzh Sarkissian took part in a commencement ceremony on Sunday for graduating officers of Armenia’s Ministry of Defense Vazgen Sargsyan Military Institute. Sarkissian, who also serves as the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia, congratulated the 2015 graduates on their commencement and wished them success and untroubled service.

The Vazgen Sargsyan Military Institute was founded in 1997 with the assistance of the Izmirlian Foundation. This year’s graduates are the Institute’s eighteenth graduating class.

Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanyan also congratulated the graduates and thanked the teaching staff of the military schools during a speech at the commencement ceremony.

“We will see the results of their hard work in a few years. I am sure of it because former graduates of the military schools are now holding responsible posts as staff officers and commanders, properly accomplishing army tasks,” Ohanyan said.

Speaking on the situation on the border, Ohanyan said that “despite tension breaking out on the border from time to time, our soldiers and officers are accomplishing their tasks with credit, defending the homeland’s borders and maintaining peace gained through acts of heroism.”

Head of the Vazgen Sargsyan Military Institute, Major General Armen Ghahramanyan, said in his speech that it was a special day for the two Armenian states.

“Armenia’s military and political tasks and challenges make us train new officers for our newly formed army, who meet present-day requirements and have rich knowledge. The region’s geopolitical peculiarities and external threats make us fight for our security every moment,” Ghahramanyan said.

According to Ghahramanyan, during their 4-year stay at the Military Institute, students gained the necessary knowledge to ensure competent service, to train their subordinates, and to be capable of relying on their own strength.

“However, they should realize that their knowledge is the first stage in their professional career,” the general said.

President Sarkissian personally handed officers their certificates and awarded them titular daggers at the commencement ceremony. Sarkissian also delivered a speech on the occasion of the ceremony, which ended with a procession of the graduates and with a demonstrative march of the Guard of Honor.

Sarkissian’s full speech read as follows:

Dear compatriots,

Generals, officers,

Today is a unique day for many of you. The graduates of Military Institute after Vazgen Sargsyan and Military Aviation Institute after Armenak Khanperyants, as well as those who have finished command and staff courses and monthly classes are being awarded officer ranks. The graduates of Russian and other foreign military educational institutions and military academies are also present here. The military doctors graduating from the Faculty of Military Medicine of Yerevan State Medical University and the military conductors graduating from Yerevan State Conservatory have joined your ranks. 

I cordially and sincerely congratulate you on successfully graduating from your educational institutions and on being awarded officer ranks. I certainly take pride in you together with all our people. In a country the borders of which are under regular attack, you have chosen the profession of a warrior and an officer, thereby devoting yourselves to the sacred deed of defending the fatherland. This is why we believe and trust you.

From now on, you are going to fill the ranks of not only officers, but also those of intellectuals. I must repeat once again what I have said on different occasions. Military intelligentsia is the backbone of our nation and state. We will have nothing if that backbone is broken. But if it is straight, we will have the necessary precondition that underlies everything that remains. Today, looking at your compact ranks and faces, I do not doubt that you are serious, firm and responsible. I have no doubt that the backbone of our country and people is firm and straight. With you it becomes more viable.

At this solemn moment, I would like to emphasize one more consideration. I would like to remind all of you that in the present-day world there is no such concept as complete education. There is only continuous improvement. It is certainly important and necessary to graduate from a military educational institution, finish a course or even graduate from an academy, but it is not sufficient. Both theoretical and practical education is a continuous process. Modern civilization, including martial arts, faces new challenges and problems almost every day. Those issues must be addressed through modern solutions.

During World War II, people used to joke that elderly servicemen would prepare themselves not for the next, but for the previous war. The meaning of the joke was that servicemen with rich military experience would teach what they had seen and what they knew well because they had got an idea of war during the previous war. They could not imagine that the next war might be completely of a different type and nature. What I want to say is that you are officers of the 21st century. You must learn every day from the experience of freedom fighters, beginning with your tone of voice with seniors in rank and soldiers and ending with complex technical and technological issues.

I once again congratulate you on this significant event. I wish you untroubled service. I am sure that you will uphold the name and honor of the officer of the Republic of Armenia. You have your and our mothers, your and our families behind you. There are no “yours” and “ours” behind you at all; there is Armenia, an eternal traveler.

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