By Catherine Tsounis
The motto of the Hellenic Army is “’Freedom stems from valor” from Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War (2.43.4). A remembrance of the ancient warriors that defended Greece.
The Hellenic Army Emblem is the two-headed eagle (Emblem of Byzantine Empire) with a Greek Cross in the center.1
The New York City Greek Parade, the largest outside of Greece, was held Sunday, April 30th, afternoon along 5th Avenue between 64th & 79th Streets to celebrate freedom and Hellenism. Rain did not prevent the community from parading and attending. The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York sponsored the 2023 Greek Independence Day Parade, commemorating the 202nd Anniversary of Greek Independence 1821-2023. The highlight of the Parade were the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece. His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America covered the costs with the help of private donors. The New York City Police Department was present throughout the parade . Their vigilance and police barriers were effective, safeguarding community’s safety.
Churches, societies, schools, colleges, universities, NYC Police and Fire Departments, political leaders of New York State and the United States were part of the parade. The important person is the onlooker who stood in the rain watching her/his family and friends’ march. They came to feel Greece. On April 30th, 2023, all roads led to the Greek parade. We must hold on to the parade that represents our Greek identity in the United States. Mayor Eric Adams” cooperation and support made the parade possible. “New York City is the Athens of America,” he said. “The Greek community that holds on to family values is important to community.”
The Parade staff included: Parade Grand Marshal: George M. Logothetis; Parade Chairman: Philip Christopher; Honorary Marshals, Chairman and CEO of Red Apple Group and Parade Chairman Emeritus John Catsimatidis, Ernie Anastos, Ambassador George J. Tsunis; Parade; Co-Chairmen: Nicholas Bardis, Demetris A. Gonias, Nomiki Kastanas, Demos Siokis; Parade Executive Director: Georgia Kontzamanis; Parade Announcers: Demetris A. Filios, Despina Afentouli, Dimitris Filippidis; Avgi Atmatzidou, and Yiannis Stroumbakis.
Prominent persons were the following: Honorable Alexandra Papadopoulou, Greece Ambassador to the USA; Honored Guest George Dalaras; Miss Greek Independence; Representatives of the United States, Greece, and Cyprus; community leaders, businessmen, educators, and the community. For a complete list, please contact https://www.facebook.com/NYGreekParade
After four hundred years of slavery, extreme taxation, and lack of civil liberties as Greek Orthodox Christians, the Greeks of Morea (Peloponnese) were determined to be free. They had no fear. They fought a world power, The Ottoman Empire, which encompassed Europe, Asia, and Africa. The 1821 Greek people were strong in their determination. Their struggle impressed the communities of Europe. Lord Byron gave half his fortune and his life for Greece’s freedom. Byron’s loan, combined with a loan later raised in London, had the effect of “tipping the scales crucially in favor of the elected Greek government and against the warlords.”2 Lord Gordon Byron said, “They never fail who die in a great cause.”
Scholar Dimitris Michalopoulos wrote “Why the Revolution Started and was Enforced in Morea?” The British backed and sent Theodore Kolokotronis. This one man dressed in a British officer’s uniform succeeded in inspiring the Great Awakening, becoming the face of the Greek Revolution. At the April 30th, 2023, Greek Parade, Greek Americans remember the heroic struggle that made them a free nation.