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14th anniversary of Azerbaijan's independence celebrated in New York City

20 October 2005 [10:58] - TODAY.AZ
Flag of Azerbaijan raised next to the American in Manhattan

USA - The 14th anniversary of Azerbaijan's independence was celebrated in New York City by the raising of the Azerbaijan national flag on Broadway in lower Manhattan on Tuesday, October 18, 2005. The flag flew alongside the American flag, which had also been raised to acknowledge the many Azerbaijani-Americans in the U.S. The two flagpoles stand just steps away from the famous sculpture of a charging bull, a Wall Street symbol and a landmark known around the world.

The event marked the second time such a ceremony took place; the first time was 2004. Both events were organized and arranged by the Azerbaijan Society of America.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was unable to attend the event, but sent his personal representative, Deputy Commissioner for Immigrant Affairs Ms. Azadeh Khalili, to read his official proclamation marking October 18, 2005 as "Azerbaijan Independence Day in New York City." Ms. Khalili said the event was particularly meaningful for her because her grandmother was born in Azerbaijan.

The crisp, autumn day was filled with a brightly shining sun in a cloudless sky as a crowd gathered at noon for the ceremony. In addition to Ms. Khalili, speakers included Ambassador Yashar Aliyev of the permanent mission of Azerbaijan to the United Nations, Mr. Arthur Piccolo, Chairman of the Bowling Green Association and Mr. Ibrahim Kurtulus. The moderator was Ms. Delara Abbasova.

Azerbaijan Society of America President Tomris Azeri then spoke about the ties between America and Azerbaijan. "As Azerbaijani-Americans, we take pride in the ties between the United States and Azerbaijan. We take pride to know that Azerbaijan was one of the first nations to respond with help the day following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Azerbaijan, America's friend, donated $500,000 in relief aid immediately after seeing the tragedy," she noted.

"Today, we are proud to see the growing prosperity, and growing respect, involvement, and influence of Azerbaijan in the world community, Azeri continued. We are also proud to see growing commerce between our two countries. We are proud to see that in just over a decade; Azerbaijan has grown into an increasingly strong and prosperous nation. Azerbaijan has met the challenges of a new, independent nation in the modern world."

As the American national anthem played, Azeri then raised the American flag. Ambassador Aliyev then stepped up to the second flagpole and hoisted the Azerbaijan flag to the music of the Azerbaijan national anthem. Brisk gusts of wind caught the two flags, which flapped majestically against the towering backdrop of the "skyscraper" towers of Manhattan. The two flags will remain flying for ten days.

The ceremony was attended by many members and friends of the Azerbaijan Society of America, including two Azerbaijani boys who have been adopted by New York families, Andy Contrino, 4 ? , and Ben Bottner, 5, both of Brooklyn, New York.

"The weather was perfect and it was an emotional moment for all involved," said Azeri. "It brought tears to many eyes to see the two flags flying together against the blue sky. It was a day to remember.We send our congratulations to the government and the people of Azerbaijan on this special day and look forward to the continued growth, prosperity and happiness of the nation," she said.

The Azerbaijan Society of America is the oldest and leading nationwide non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing knowledge about the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijani people, their culture and history.

Azerbaijan Society of America

URL: http://www.today.az/news/society/20877.html

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