From the Desk of the Supreme President | March 25, 2021
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 alongside the Greeks during their struggle for freedom in the Greek War of Independence, most notably Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, and many gave the ultimate sacrifice. 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. Additionally, American Philhellenes rallied support for the war effort by holding fundraising events in several American cities.
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 and bases, 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, the ongoing U.S.-Greece Strategic Dialogue is a further demonstration of how the relationship has grown to new heights of cooperation. (Pictured below: Ahepans pay homage to American Philhellene Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe.)
In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Greece’s independence, AHEPA family chapters, districts, and the Greek diaspora, are working together to promote this momentous event safely as we still endure a modern-day battle against the coronavirus pandemic. They have worked admirably 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.
We sincerely thank President Joe Biden, who sent a letter
to the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou to commemorate Greece’s Bicentennial and issued a proclamation
in recognition of Greek Independence Day.l. The American Hellenic community also is grateful to the members of Congress who took the time to commemorate Greece’s Bicentennial with speeches on the Senate or House floors. We sincerely thank U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis for introducing congressional resolutions in the U.S. Senate and U.S House of Representatives, respectively, that recognize the 200th anniversary of the independence of Greece. We call for their swift passage.
Finally, I 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. I also invite a global Hellenic and Philhellenic community to join us this July in Athens, Greece, where we will continue the year-long celebration of Greece’s Bicentennial.
Zhto H Ellas!
George G. Horiates
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