Ryan Pourjam, 13, son of Mansour Pourjam, speaks about his father during a ceremony on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 at Carleton University in Ottawa to honor Pourjam, a biology alumnus, and biology PhD student Fareed Arasteh, who died in the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 in Tehran. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP)
Hear son's moving speech after dad was killed in Iran crash
03:24 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

A poised 13-year-old gave a speech no child should have to give.

A week after his father was killed in the Iran plane crash, Ryan Pourjam approached the podium with a moving speech about who his father was and the life lessons he left behind.

“I can’t remember a single moment in my life where Mansour, my dad, had any trace of negativity in his voice or actions,” Ryan said in a video of his speech at a service in Ottawa, Ontario.

Mansour Pourjam, and Fareed Arasteh were two of the souls 176 lost when Iranian forces shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 after takeoff in Tehran.

They were honored during a service at Carleton University on Wednesday, according to CNN news partner CBC. Pourjam was a biology alumnus and Arasteh was a biology Ph.D. student at the university.

The teen spoke while more than 200 family members and friends looked on. Members of the audience took in what he said, some with their hands over their mouths.

‘I feel like I’m dreaming’

Ryan Pourjam, 13, son of Mansour Pourjam, speaks about his father during a program in Ontario.

Ryan said his father would remind him to remain positive throughout the highs and lows of life. He said he didn’t want to talk about the “bad stuff” and if his father were in his place giving a speech about someone else who had lost their life, he wouldn’t, either.

The crowd intently listened as the teen paused to maintain his composure.

“I look to the audience and I see his family, his friends, some relationships that he built over decades and it comforts me because they’re here to celebrate Mansour and Fareed’s amazing lives,” Ryan said. “They’ve touched every single person in the audience. It’s amazing.”

Ryan said his father had his fair share of challenges, but always overcame them.

“He’s been through tragedy after tragedy, wall after wall, wrong turn after wrong turn — and he stood strong,” Ryan said.

Mansour Pourjam was among 176 killed in the Iranian plane crash.

Pourjam’s son thanked the audience for coming to the memorial, and he was met by roaring applause in return. He wiped his tears and reflected one last time to finish his speech.

“I stand up here a week after this horrible tragedy and I still can’t believe it,” Ryan said. “I feel like I’m dreaming. But I know that if I was dreaming, and that if he woke me up, he’d tell me that it’s going to be OK … and it will be.”

Carleton University said in a statement that its “thoughts are with Fareed’s and Mansour’s families, friends and colleagues at this difficult time, and with everyone who has suffered loss in this terrible tragedy.”