Anush, the wife of contract soldier Armen Arakelyan, who died in Maghavuz firing position on September 20, dreams of her Armen, a participant in the Talish and 44-Day Wars, is given the title of hero. He has the Bravery Medal of Artsakh. But Anush needs a title of hero.

Anush Sargsyan, a mother of 3 children, in an insecure mixed-up life, in a foreign city, does not make any social demands. She wants the title of hero for Armen.

She does not know the place of the Ministry of Defense. She does not know what papers have to be taken there either. But she is ready to go, to find the most powerful official who will appreciate her Armen, will understand that Armen could not have done what he did, and now he would be alive, with his three children.

He did not leave the position so that they would not enter the villages and slaughter people

“His feat was not for nothing: if he had left the firing position early, the inhabitants of the neighboring villages would have been slaughtered. Armen saved the lives of the children of the neighboring village. He was just a driver, and he could pull the car aside and not participate in anything. He already had brought the cannon shells and gave them to the shooter. Now he would be next to the children and me. But he didn’t leave…” says Anush Sargsyan and, at the request of, shows the videow again that she has watched a thousand times about how a man and a woman worked in the hospital of Getavan village in Martakert region, she — as a medic, Armen — as an ambulance driver, and how did everything start…

She keeps the episodes of that movie, her husband’s voice, the video taken in the firing position of the D-30 artillery battery in her phone, shows it to everyone, turns the sound on so they can listen.

“We lived in the neighboring village, Verin Hoghatagh. We were working in Getavan. He was a driver; he mostly transported food. On the 19th of the month, we were working. I was with a sick child when it started. He came running and said, ‘I am taking you to the hospital, I will go to the positions, the situation is not good’. I said, ‘Where are you going?’ He went in an ambulance, sent his father to stay with me. You remember, there was no fuel in those days. He asked for diesel from people and went to positions.”

“I don’t know how, but he convinved the Russians and got a Russian car”

Later, the boys told Anush that Armen’s car was under fire, the rear part was broken, and the vehicle was out of order. “The cousin said, ‘Armen, you have taken the projectiles so many times. Now, that your car is hit and you miraculously survived, stay here.’ He got angry and said, ‘What are you talking about? Do it quickly. I need to get shells to four positions; the soldiers are under fire and wounded’. He left his broken car, I don’t know how, but he convinced the Russians and got a Russian car and started carrying shells with that car. On September 19, Armen delivered projectiles the positions of Maghavuz all day,” Anoush proudly tells.

Her husband’s friends, all of whom are alive, except for one, conveyed Armen’s words to Anush. “Guys, there is no place to escape; if the cannon doesn’t work, they [the Azeris] will enter the villages. We have to stay.”

And indeed, near Maghavuz, the enemy suffered heavy losses of military equipment, which fact was confirmed by the Defense Ministry of Artsakh.

To silence the only battery of the position, the Azerbaijanis used aviation against the headstrong fire position.

“We were at the airport on the 20th of the month. I was worried; he didn’t call, he didn’t call… There were so many shots, the shots could be heard everywhere. We slept in the car that day. The next day, they told us that they called from the positions and said that Armen is no more… It happened an hour before the fire stopped. Everyone ran away, two people, Armen and the political officer, were killed. Even the shooter was saved, he and the officer were in the trench,” says Anush.

They also told her that Armen constantly asked about her and the children. He said, “I wonder, how the child are doing”: the family was always on his mind.

“I should have cried, I should have said, ‘Dear Armen, I’m afraid, the children are crying, come back to us’

“He managed to call once. I said that the Turks have entered Getavan. He was silent, then he said, ‘Don’t be afraid’. I didn’t complain much; I thought not to depress him, so did not cry. But that was wrong. I should have cried, I should have said, ‘Dear Armen, I’m afraid, the children are crying, come back to us.’ Would that make him come?” she asks us.

At that moment, when Armen called, Anush and the children were in the car, going to Stepanakert airport. They were under fire. People were leaving the villages and, along with their leaving, Azerbaijanis were entering the villages. “They hit so much in the direction of Vaghuhas, Getavan, that the houses collapsed, when people were in the basements. We came to Drmbon. We stayed that night. No one says anything [definite]. Someone said they hit the bridge, someone said they didn’t… We came to the city at dawn. In the morning, we were in Stepanakert, and they brought Armen [his body]. We brought his body to Yerevan, Yerablur.”

The family of six lives in Silikyan district.She pays 300,000 AMDs as rent. But they don’t have money anymore. They will move to Byureghavan in a few days: they found a more affordable house there. “It’s okay,” says the young woman, “we’ll live, I only wish they know about Armen’s exploits in Armenia and give him the title of hero.”

A few days ago, they called her from the military department: they wanted Armen’s papers. Anush was excited, hoped that the cart would move. But today, on the occasion of the 40th day anniversary of Armen’s death, she woke up, thought about her husband and wrote words that contradict her previous thoughts.

“I saw my death without dying in these 40 days. They say that you are finally leaving the earthly life today. I somehow accepted the reality, and now the longing is suffocating. I try to satisfy my longing with our children: I see your smile in one’s smile, I look for your look in another’s look. They told me how you fought heroically, but unfortunately you didn’t take into account that we didn’t need a hero: for us you were a hero from the day you were born”.

Syuzan Simonyan

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