By Catherine Tsounis
On February 14TH, the City of Volos, Greece, honored Asa K. Jennings for saving the Greeks from Smyrna and Asia Minor in 1922-23. He was represented by his grandson, Mr. Roger L. Jennings. He said “there were 300,000 Greeks saved in the first 11 days, plus 25,000 Jews and 25,000 Armenians. In 10 months, 1,250,000 were removed to safety. Asa K. Jennings is the highest decorated person in Greek history. At the ceremony in Volos His Eminence, Metropolitan Ignatius (Georgakopoulos) of Demetrias, who presides over the Metropolis of Demetrias, which is based in Volos and includes the prefecture of Magnesia and part of the prefecture of Larisa, was present.
Metropolitan Ignatius lauded Jennings and blessed the memorial. There were hundreds in attendance of very grateful, and emotional, Greeks whose families were saved.
Mr. Jennings thanked “President Moulas, and members of the City Council and the Mayor for inviting me on behalf of the City of Volos to honor my Grandfather Asa K. Jennings for his service to the people of Greece. The details of the rescue are in “Waking the Lion” written by Roger Jennings and sold by Amazon.
In a personal telephone interview, Mr. Jennings explained “President George Moulas of the Volos Municipal Council was researching the
Armenian catastrophe. He came across the evacuation of Greek refugees from Asia Minor by my grandfather Asa Jennings. His research led to this unique monument in his memory.
The farmers – joined by some 10,000 of their compatriots as well as union members, massed in Syntagma Square, Greece on Friday, February 13th, protesting new austerity measures by the government. Mr. Jennings was an eyewitness to the demonstration. He shared his opinion, not the opinion of this journalist, of what took place.
“Volos is a three hour ride by car north of Athens. Along the road about every 5 miles there were lines of farm tractors like the largest tractors you will see on the North Fork of Long Island, New York… The next day the farmers moved their tractors on to the highway to block all traffic. This happened all over Greece. The farmers are resisting higher taxes and lower prices as required by the European Union. The farmers are in open revolt. The Greek people sympathize with them,”
Mr. Jennings explained, “in Athens, Greeks put on masks at night and go to dumpsters, diving for food. They go at night, with the masks, because they are a proud people who do not want to be known for their desperation. A Greek doctor, who sat next to me, said he believes Greece is close to having a revolution. As an American without any Greek blood, I can say Greece is a very beautiful country with very loving and proud people. The situation is Greece is very sad.”
In a thank you note written to Volos President Moulas, Mr. Jennings believes, “My job is not done. Greece can pull out of its economic problems. There are so many opportunities. I hope we can again have a textile manufacturing business in Volos….
I cannot say thank you enough times for all that you did. I hope we can create a better future for the people of Volos and Greece. I also very much appreciate all the people who came to the ceremony. May God bless Greece.”
https://www.xulonpress.com/bookstore/bookdetail.php?PB_ISBN=9781498452984&HC_ISBN= – Mr. Jennings book on Asia Minor refugee rescue.
https://picasaweb.google.com/105743188183721570894/MemorialInVolosOfAsiaMinorCatastropheHeroAsaKJennings- event album