By Gjon Buçaj/
We are all gathered here on this sad occasion to bid farewell to your loved one, your beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, to our dear friend Agim.
While we Vatrans and friends alike mourn his departure, we also celebrate his life of a true friend and inspiring leader that we enjoyed with him for decades.
As a friend he was honest and sincere, someone that you could fully trust. He was polite and generous with all, with friends he was kind and always had words of praise and comfort when needed, and you knew that he always meant wat he said.
As a leader Agim possessed the moral and ideological qualities that are required for leading Vatra. He never sought the position of president, but he accepted it with awareness of great responsibility, when membership elected him, having observed and appreciated his dedication to Vatra and to the Albanian cause for many years, and they recognized his commitment to keep and strengthen this organization, while respecting its Constitution and democratic principles established by its Founders and kept by dedicated members ever since. He knew that the strength of Vatra lies in the harmonious cooperation among its members and supporters, and in the commitment to the common cause of national interests, standing above party politics and operating in the spirit of the American democracy, where respect for truth, justice and fairness constitutes the inspiring moral force for progress together. This spirit qualifies Vatra as an important pillar of the strong bond with great friendship between American people and the Albanian nation.
Agim recognized the need to expand and strengthen Vatra, to prepare for gradually transferring it into the hands of young generation, a generation of men and women enriched with patriotic idealism, with commitment to keep those good traditions and the basic principles that have ensured Vatra’s longevity and that do not age with time.
This past 4th of March I visited him for the last time, together with my son Eduard. He was happy to see us and we joked a little bit with a “Get Well” balloon; he always had a fine sense of humor.
Among other things, we talked about young generation being involved in Vatra. “Are you in Vatra?”, asked my son, who replied “Very much so”. Then he turned to me and said the words that my son keeps on tape; “I don’t hesitate to say that the best thing we did (was bringing) our children in Vatra”.
Agim has a long list of achievements and services in this beloved organization of ours, but I might mention only one: he was entrusted with Vatra funds, the “Permanent Fund” by him initiated, and the older “Building Fund” or “Fondi i Binasë” in Albanian. These funds were joined in one and were kept with sacrifices in difficult times, until his son Zudi, found the three-story building that we own now, at a price that could be paid in full with the available funds and with Zudi’s help, as the real estate broker who arranged the transaction without taking his due commission.
For his continued engagement and for contributions in various activities during his life, with the spirit of a patriot who looks after national interests above his own, he was honored with many recognitions and decorations; among those, the one that made him particularly proud and happy, was the Honorary Citizenship of his native city, Gjirokastra.
There are too many unforgettable episodes to tell here, that we enjoyed together with many friends, but let me conclude by just saying that he, for friends and especially for us Vatrans, left an enormous legacy of heavy responsibility that is not easy to keep, because keeping it requires unselfish leaders with moral and ideological qualities of Agim Karagjozi.
On behalf of my family and myself, and on behalf of many common friends that couldn’t be here today, I express my deepest sympathy to the Family here and to all relatives in Albania and wherever they may be.
Per gezime mbas sodit!
April 4, 2018