a project of ATASC

A Hero

Try to envision what life was like in the early part of 1900 in imperialistic Europe and how society was structured unrecognizably differently than today into stringent socio-economic levels.  Today’s country borders did not exist. There was little democracy: mostly empires with emperors, kings, tsars, and sultans.

Every period of history can be defined by its wars and societal turmoil, but this period was unique. It was the time of an inevitable but chaotic destruction of enormous empires, leaving its shattered multi-ethnic, multi-cultural populations to fight amongst themselves to find new borders, governments, social order, economies, and resources.

Any attempt to summarize what it was like to live through the indescribably horrific World War I and its subsequent, violent upheavals is simply impossible. In a span of the war’s four years, 20 million people, military and civilian, in all the theaters of the war, died. Bloody turmoil continued for years after the war. No one today can fully comprehend what it took to survive during that time in history.

Now envision a hero: someone of sharp intellect, innate bravery, and steadfast purpose who led his soldiers and citizens through the war’s horror, even when there were literally bullets and bombs, disease, death and destruction all around.

Consider someone who, in two consecutive wars (WWI and the War of Independence), instinctively understood national and international arenas where internal and external enemies’ objectives would be played, but had the determination, endurance, and resilience to continue to demand, and fight for, a different future for his country.

Picture someone who called to a war-shocked, demoralized, defeated, and even angry population and rallied them around the common cause of unity with their rightful destiny of peace and prosperity in a global community.

Imagine someone who faced multiple military forces more powerful than his own while pulling this same war-shocked, frightened, exhausted population into a life that advanced societies enjoyed.  Envision someone who, despite resistance, unwaveringly demanded democracy in a new republic that knew only dictators; instilled freedom and equality for its citizens, irrespective of ethnic background, religious affiliations, or economic status; reformed political, legal, economic, educational, and social systems; and inspired a bewildered people to be proud of being a Turk. 

Envision a person who was so admired and respected for setting a new nation on a path of peaceful relations with its neighbors and the world that he was nominated in 1932 for the Nobel Peace Prize by Premier Eleftherios Venizelos of Greece, a war-time adversary.

Consider someone who accomplished all of this in a short life-time.

This is a hero.  This is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. His is a story of true valor, and it must be told and re-told to all generations of all nationalities.

A keen and devoted scholar throughout his life (19 May 1881 - 10 November 1938), he was one of those rare and brilliant individuals who arrive at a decisive point in history due to a singular ability to comprehend, envision, strategize, encourage and lead a new republic in numerous areas of significant impact, including: military, political, legal, educational, social, and cultural. He changed a nation, inspired other nations for change to modernity, and in doing so, changed the world.

What cannot be fully expressed are how profoundly Atatürk is admired, the devotion, and the utmost respect that a nation can bestow upon a single person. As a nation, Turks have an enduring, deep emotional bond with Atatürk and an eternal, intense gratitude for all the enlightened gifts that he gave them. And the world came to know him as the “Father of all Turks.”

He passed away in 1938 at the age of 57, and Turkey today still mourns its loss with genuine reverence.




ATASC is a 501(c)(3) 
organization with an
EIN: 33-0190399

Carson Mayor's Message

Mayor Jim Dear's message.

Project Leader's Message

ATASC Past President and Ataturk Monument Project Leader Vega Sankur's message.

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