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Greek CommunityEvents2024 NYC Hellenic Independence Parade: Enthusiasm and Loyalty on Display

2024 NYC Hellenic Independence Parade: Enthusiasm and Loyalty on Display

Hellenic News of America
Hellenic News of Americahttps://www.hellenicnews.com
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By Catherine Tsounis

On Sunday afternoon, April 14, 2024, the 203rd anniversary of Hellenic independence and the commemoration of 50 years of illegal occupation of Cyprus (July 20, 1974-July 20, 2024) were celebrated with fervor along 5th Avenue, from 64th to 79th Streets. The event, sponsored by the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, drew significant support, including the participation of NYC Mayor Eric Adams, who marched with his own banner, symbolizing solidarity with the Greek American community. Dating back to 1938, the Hellenic Independence Day Parade has been a cherished tradition in New York City, attracting generations of families over its long history.

Among the distinguished figures honored at the 2024 parade were George Karlaftis, Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl Champions; Greek Minister of Defense Nikos Dendrias; Cyprus Minister of Transport Alexis Vafiades; and Honorary Marshals, including Elected Mayor of Himara Dionisios Freddie Belerus, Chios Mayor Dr. Ioannis M. Malafis, among others. Miss Katerina Karandrakas was crowned the 2024 Miss Greek Independence.

Parade announcers. Photo by Despina Siolas, MD./Ph.D.
Miss Greek Independence float. Photo by Despina Siolas, MD./Ph.D.

Notable organizers and parade announcers included Parade General Chairman Philip Christopher, Parade Co-Chairs Nomiki Kastanas and Yannis Stroumbakis, Parade Executive Georgea Kontzamanis, and Announcers Demetrios A. Filios, Nomiki Kastanas, Dimitris Filippidis, and Michael Stratis. The parade saw enthusiastic participation from churches, organizations, parochial schools, colleges, universities, and businesses. For details on prominent participants and societies involved, visit www.nycgreekparade.org.

What accounts for the enduring success of the New York City Hellenic Parade after a century? The answer lies in the unifying force of Greek language, culture, and Greek Orthodoxy, which have bound Greek society together since the days of the Eastern Roman Byzantine Empire. According to Mrs. Athena Tsokou Kromidas, a prominent Greek American educator and former President of the High Council of Education of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the network of 25 Archdiocesan Day schools and over 500 afternoon schools nationwide play a pivotal role in nurturing the minds and hearts of Greek American children. These schools not only provide excellent education in Greek language but also impart cultural and religious knowledge, fostering a deep sense of pride in heritage among the younger generation.

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Kindergarten of Cathedral School with parents. Photo by Despina Siolas, MD./Ph.D
Mayor Eric Adams and delegation marched to show support for Hellenism. Photo by Despina Siolas, MD./Ph.D

Greek Orthodoxy has long been the cornerstone of the Hellenic curriculum, transcending centuries of history and foreign occupation to shape the modern Greek American identity. As His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros noted, Greek education has a universal appeal that resonates with people of all faiths and cultures, speaking to the soul of humanity through its timeless teachings.

In a historic interview on HellasFM, politician Vangelis Meimarakis emphasized the importance of safeguarding European borders and promoting freedom, particularly in the face of threats to Cyprus. Mr. Meimarakis underscored the significance of peace with neighbors in fostering tourism and economic growth, advocating for continued democracy and unity among Greek factions.

Evzones marching. Photo by Despina Siolas, MD./Ph.D

Looking ahead, April 19th marks the 200th anniversary of George Gordon, Lord Byron’s death, a pivotal figure in Greece’s struggle for independence. Byron’s unwavering support for the Greek cause inspired Western civilization to rally behind Greece’s fight for freedom, leaving an indelible mark on history. As Greek Americans honor this legacy and commemorate 203 years of Hellenic independence, they stand as a testament to the enduring spirit of filotimo, hospitality, and love of freedom.

NYPD St. Paul’s Society, Hellenic American and Eastern Orthodox law enforcers. Photo by Despina Siolas, MD./Ph.D

The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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