“I did not want to have a hero son: I wanted him to be by my side”

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“On the day of my father’s birthday, the war started; on my birthday, we learned the news about my child. 40 days later the ceasefire was signed.” These are the words of Hasmik, the mother of Arsen Yeghoyan, who died in the 44-day war.

The Yeghoyan family lives in Kanakeravan, Kotayk region, and is engaged in gardening. Arsen was one of three children in the family. He had planned to help his father in gardening after the war.

The family say that the boy’s service in the army was going on peacefully: he did not complain about anything. He served in Kapan, Armenia. However, on September 4, 2020, he was moved to Jrakan for military exercises. He assured his parents that he would return to the military unit on October 2 and return to his usual service.

The parents learned that a war started from their neighbors later. That day was the birthday of Arsen’s father, Meruzhan Yeghoyan. The son called his father, congratulated him warmly and happily, talked for a while, but said nothing about the war. The last call came from him on September 30. The news of Arsen’s death became known on October 2, his mother’s birthday.

Meruzhan Yeghoyan conducted his own investigation to find out how and why his son died.

“I looked for his friends who survived, people came from the command. The boys’s group had seven units, six of which were hit, only one was left. They pulled back, recharged the remaining only unit, came back to the position, fired, and did so all day long. There were nine people on that unit, seven of whom died. I even have a video of that moment,” says the father of the dead soldier.

Arsen Yeghoyan’s father says that there are many dark things about the circumstances of his son’s death.

“The supplying chain did not work at all. Projectiles were supposed to take the boys, but they did not. 2 km away, in the gorge, they emptied, the boys took the machine out of the position, helping each other as much as they could, they charged the hundred kg projectile manually, by hand, came back to the position and fired. Only the platoon commander was with them who was killed. The commander of the battery was not there. It is true; I saw it. They put a khachkar [Armenian cross-stone sculped with ornaments and often used as memorials] in the military unit of Kapan, we went to the opening ceremony. There he was awarded the Combat Service Medal. To be honest, I’m not proud: I did not want to have a hero son, I wanted him to be by my side. I needed him here.”

According to him, he and his family are still unable to come to terms with what happened. “You try to find strength, you want to live again, but you can not. You are waiting for him to come back every second,” says the father of the dead soldier.

Ani Gevorgyan