In 1821, after nearly 400 years of Ottoman oppression, the Greeks bound together under a flag bearing the cross to fight for freedom and justice in the land which gave the world democracy. Like the revolution which took place in America 45 years earlier, Greece would embark on a journey forever linking our two countries in their struggle for freedom and independence.
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America drew upon the ideals and principles forged in ancient Greece in constructing our nation. Thomas Jefferson called ancient Greece “the light which led ourselves out of Gothic darkness.” All who cherish a free and democratic government are beneficiaries of Greece’s legacy and thus should consider themselves Philhellenes. This is why Americans fought and died alongside the Greeks during their struggle for freedom in the Greek War of Independence. The Greeks received the support of Jefferson, President James Monroe, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, and U.S. Representatives Daniel Webster and Henry Clay.
Throughout history, Greece and the United States have stood shoulder-to-shoulder to face the challenges of an ever-changing world. Greece had been allied with the United States in every major conflict of the 20th century. The strong alliance continues into the 21st century. Greece, via NSA Souda Bay, Crete, and other military capabilities, has contributed significantly to NATO and United States missions, including peacekeeping operations, in an ever-increasingly important region of the world. United States government officials have called Greece “a pillar of stability” in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Moreover, December’s inaugural U.S.-Greece Strategic Dialogue is a further demonstration of how the relationship has grown to new heights of cooperation.
In celebration of the 198th anniversary of Greece’s independence, AHEPA family chapters, districts, and the Greek diaspora, are working together to promote parades worldwide, to secure Proclamations from state and local governments, to organize flag-raising ceremonies at various State Capitols and City Halls, and to lay wreaths at memorial sites. Indeed, AHEPA family members worldwide promote and sustain the celebration of this historic day for all Hellenes.
In closing, we sincerely thank President Donald J. Trump, who hosted a White House reception and issued a Proclamation in recognition of Greek Independence Day on March 18. The American Hellenic community also is grateful to the members of Congress who took the time to commemorate Greek Independence Day with speeches on the Senate or House Floors. The U.S. Senate passed a resolution sponsored by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez that commemorates Greek Independence We thank Senator Menendez and the resolution’s 27 co-sponsors. In addition, we appreciate Congressional Hellenic Caucus Co-Chairs U.S. Representatives Gus Bilirakis and Carolyn Maloney for introducing a similar resolution that reaffirms the U.S. House of Representatives’ robust commitment to the importance of the U.S.-Greece strategic partnership. We call for its passage.
Finally, I also ask Hellenes throughout the Diaspora to take a moment to acknowledge and pay their respects to those who sacrificed which allowed freedom and democracy to take root-once again-in Greece in 1821. Zhto H Ellas!
George E. Loucas
Main Photo Caption: The AHEPA family of Toronto marched in yesterday’s Greek Independence Day Parade.