January 28 is National Army Day in Armenia. This public holiday looks back to the formation of the Armenian Armed Forces in 1992.
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After declaring its independence from the USSR and during a war with Azerbaijan between 1988 and 1992, there were already Armenians rising to the task of defending their homeland. However, it was an unofficial, all-volunteer force at that point.
It was by the decree of president Petrosyan on 28 January 1992 that the Armed Forces of Armenia were officially constituted. This happened only a few months after Armenia declared independence from the USSR.
National Army Day’s basis goes back to 1992, but it was not celebrated until president Robert Kocharyan made it a national holiday in 2001.
For National Army Day, leaders of Armenia will gather for a wreath laying ceremony at the grave site of Commander Vazgen Sargsyan, who fought valiantly for Armenian interests in the war with Azerbaijan and who later became prime minister of Armenia, but was assassinated.
They also honour the graves of other famed Armenian fighters and visit a memorial that honours all of Armenia’s fallen freedom fighters. The president will give a speech, and the occasion will be filled with both solemnity and renewed appreciation for their country’s brave soldiers.