Many stories have been and will be written about those deceased in the Artsakh War. Stories that have finally revealed for us the secret of the words ‘hero’ or ‘patriotism’, which seemed to have no clear explanation or unit of measurement.
They are the last episodes of the guys' life on the positions that have turned into a front line. The guys who lived modestly among us, but in the fateful for the homeland hour bravely faced the death and war, forcing them to retreat, once again making the enemy realize his own insignificance and powerlessness, and left us with the awareness of our invincibility accompanied with inescapable pain. It is difficult to write about them. Doing this becomes even more difficult if you personally knew them in those days when the war seemed to be far from our homes and the dreams of a soldier, who joked and was pleased with everything, could not remain unfulfilled...
Lieutenant-Colonel Onik Grigoryan deceased on April 2, the first day of Azerbaijan's four-day aggression on the southern border of the Republic, where the fiercest battles took place. He was born in 1978 in the village of Khramort of the Askeran region. His father, Karo Grigoryan, was a reserve officer of the Soviet Army and the RA Army, participated in the Artsakh War, and in peacetime worked as a military teacher at the village school. Onik was taught the first lessons of weapons handling and shooting by his father. In 1995, he was mobilized to serve in the Defense Army, and just a year later he was awarded the rank of lieutenant ahead of time, and he was appointed a platoon commander. Then, Onik graduated from the Artsakh State University. He worked as a military teacher in the secondary school in the village of Ivanyan. There, he fell in love with Svetlana who studied in the final class. "The Lord sent me to this school so that I could meet you", his wife recalled his words with a sad smile. In 2002, they had a daughter, Tatev, and three years later - a son, Hovhannes. That time, Onik served in various frontier military units, receiving different military ranks. He was awarded numerous medals and diplomas and served to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. "We were happy, but some strange fear worried me. Though he was devoted to us, but he was more devoted to the army and soldiers. While others would use any excuse to avoid serving on the border, he, on the contrary, couldn’t stay for a long time in relatively quiet places", Svetlana said.
"He differed from others. I say this not because he is not with us today or he committed a feat. I really was afraid of his interests sometimes. And the range of his interests was wide, but the main among them were war, weapons, books and films telling about new types of weapons. Once we went to Volgograd for a wedding party, and he visited all the museums and places of interest there related to the Great Patriotic War. Military exercises were held in the vicinity of the city, and he visited the place, got acquainted with the Russian servicemen and discussed professional issues with them", said the wife.
... The morning of April 2, 2016 was like a bomb exploding: contradictory information came from the border. Like many others, Onik's father also hastened to join a group of volunteers. But, he was stopped on the way: Onik was wounded. Although his son was the deputy commander of the military unit for the rear and communal and operational services stationed on the southern border, this news was not surprising to the father - for a man like Onik, there was nothing unnatural and unexpected in this fact. It could not be otherwise. Once he was wounded in the arm at one of the positions near the Askeran region, but after a short-term treatment in the hospital he returned to the service. But, only the relatives and friends knew about it. After this incident, he was very proud that he could fully take revenge on the enemy - to destroy the adversary.
Despite the fact that his direct duties were related to the logistics of the rear, he knew the location of all combat posts and communications along the entire Line of Contact, because he had managed to visit everywhere under one or another pretext.
"We did not do anything special. They are the soldiers of the homeland”, he used to say to his friends. By saying "they" he meant those deceased, the veterans and heroes of the Great Patriotic and Artsakh Wars.
His close friends Manuk, Armen, Samvel, and Arthur told the following: "We have many friends, but after Onik’s death a kind of emptiness appeared, which cannot be filled by anyone. He completely differed from the others: his presence turned our meetings into a holiday. He was always with us - with his inexhaustible humor, accurate assessments, a sharp tongue, and ready to defend us any moment. We knew that he would not spare his life for the sake of his friends, because he more than us rejoiced at our every success, always found a way out of difficult situations. At ordinary friendly meetings, at first glance, it might seem that he deliberately talks about high matter with pathos, but this was not pathos, he was really that way - a devoted man to his homeland. We knew that he would not spare his life for the sake of his friends, because he was happy to see our success, and he always found a way out of difficult situations. At ordinary friendly meetings, it might seem that he deliberately talked about high matter with pathos, but this was not pathos, it was his nature - a man devoted to his homeland".
Speaking about their son, Onik's parents are discreet. The feeling of great pride, accompanied by pain and sadness, passes to the interlocutor, and the conversation gradually turns into a dialogue between the father and the mother. The restrained and miserly memories suggest that the parents have long resigned themselves to the last decision of their hero- son - to do what he thinks is right, and their son will never make a wrong move.
Once, during a short vacation, when Onik met his father, the former soldier asked, "If war breaks out again, will our children be able to protect the borders of our homeland?" "They will do it better than your generation," he replied. And again he was right.
Onik’s friends are telling about his last battle. Upon learning of the attack, the five officers, without losing a minute, rushed into the car and hurried to support the soldiers at the positions and assumed the battle. Twice wounded, Onik fought to the end. Seeing that the enemy is firing the road, along which assistance had to be rendered, he ordered the soldiers to give him the clips and to leave the trenches. He knew that these trenches and this height cannot be conceded to the enemy...
The body of the hero was delivered to his native village in eight days. All this time, both his family and friends hoped that he was alive. In those days, one of the Azerbaijani websites, which outstripped the others in publishing tales about the victories of their armed forces at the front, placed a photo of a murdered Armenian officer, writing that they had managed to kill the commander of the Armenian special detachment. This was the panic-stricken enemy’s impression of the battle, which was fought almost alone by the deputy commander for the rear.
In accordance with a decree of the President of the Artsakh Republic, for exceptional courage and dedication, displayed in defending the borders of the homeland, Onik Grigoryan was posthumously awarded the ‘Combat Cross’ first-degree Order. Today, the secondary school of Ivanyan village is named after the hero. His bust is erected in the courtyard of the school.
His children - Tatev and Hovhannes - are striving to fulfill their father's dreams. They decided that Tatev should become a lawyer, and Hovhannes - a military doctor. In the meantime, Tatev has already won the Pan-Armenian Olympiad, taking the first place in the subject ‘Initial Military Training’. Tatev dedicated her victory to the memory of her father and proved that she can continue his cause.
Who can better than a soldier tell about his commander? Khoren Grigoryan, who completed the military service, wrote under a photo of the hero placed in a social network, "During the April war, one of my officers, platoon commander, Senior lieutenant Onik Grigoryan was killed (he was already a Lieutenant-Colonel during the war). I mourn in connection with the loss of this great man. And I'm sorry not only for the death of the courageous officer of the Armenian Army; my memories also cause me great pain. My memories of the army service will further be full of great grief. In these May days, I remember only my Senior Lieutenant. Our military duties, lessons of tactics and fire training. I have also recalled how proud he was of us when I and my fellow-servicemen were interviewed by journalists of a newspaper, because we were his staff. I cannot forget his smile and advices given to us as an older brother.
I'm happy that I knew you. You won in our common war, and the Lord is a witness to it".