Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian of the Armenian Apostolic Church blesses a new sign along the 60 Freeway.

Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian of the Armenian Apostolic Church blesses a new sign along the 60 Freeway. (Los Angeles Times / April 3, 2011)

MONTEBELLO (KTLA) -- Some 200 Los Angeles residents, many of Armenian descent, gathered Friday to celebrate the unveiling of a pair of directional signs leading to the Armenian Genocide Martyrs Monument.

The The six-legged memorial tower above Garfield Avenue off of the Pomona Freeway, dedicated in 1968, draws thousands of Armenians each April 24 to commemorate the 1915 massacre.

Authorized by the state Legislature, the signs read "Armenian Genocide Martyrs Monument Next Exit."

State Assemblyman Charles Calderon (D-Whittier), who headed legislation authorizing the signs, described the tower as "a beacon that stands in the night" for human rights.

Leaders of modern-day Turkey dispute the "genocide" label. The United States has not taken a formal position on the subject.

The directional signs will likely bring awareness to those who fail to recognize the impact that the killings and deportations still have on Armenians around the world, said Grigor Hovhannisyan, Armenia's consul general.

There are few living survivors of the massacre. Survivor and area resident Hrant Zeitounzian, was 100 when he died Wednesday, according to ceremony organizers.