Satik Varzhapetyan can hardly hold back her tears while recollecting her last conversations with her son Narek. "The word 'hero' has forever lost its meaning for me," she said.
Narek, 19, was killed while fighting in the 2020 Artsakh War.
Six months after starting his military service, when Narek was on his first home leave, he asked his mother if she wanted her son to be a martyr.
“Satik was astonished for a minute, then her eyes filled with tears and she asked him to never ever again say something like that. ‘I don’t want my son to be a fallen hero,’ she said. ‘I want him to be back home after the army safe and sound,’” recalled Narek’s grandmother Mihranush.
Narek was fatally wounded on October 19th. He was due to finish his service three months later.
Back during the Four Day War of 2016, Narek, just 15 years old at the time, wanted to go to Artsakh and fight. “He was rushing to get into the army,” said Satik.
Eventually, Narek wanted to become an architect. Prior to starting his military service, Narek was immersed in his studies at the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia, which he attended with help from FAR’s Jerair Nishanian Foundation Scholarship Program. And while a relative had invited him to move to Frankfurt so that he could pursue his studies there, Narek rejected the offer. He preferred to stay in Armenia.
On October 15th, 2020, Narek’s battalion of 33 soldiers, and of which he was the leader, was transferred to Ishkhanadzor in Artsakh.
October 18th was the last time Satik heard Narek’s voice when she spoke with him over the phone. The entire battalion was killed when their tanks were shelled. Their bodies were found 52 days later after the Armenians received permission to cross the border following the ceasefire.
To support the family, FAR recently distributed financial assistance provided by the Nishanian family and Nishanian Foundation Board Members. The money will be used to support Narek's sister’s studies. Her long-term goal is the same as her deceased brother's: to excel in architecture.