As we approach the horrific number of 100,000 dead in America as time and the virus marches on, the country in general – and each minority – is taking out its notebooks and recording the names of its dead.
It may be unjust to single out the dead based on their color, gender, national origin, etc. The dead are dead. But it is also human to want to know what is happening in your ethnic group or community.
So when Sunday's New York Times printed the names of 1,000 who died of the coronavirus – which took up the entirety of the front page – without even thinking about it, I began to look for Greek names.
There were 12. I was able to recognize them with a high degree of certainty, among the 1,000 names published by the newspaper.
Of course, the total number of Greek-Americans who are victims of the coronavirus is much higher.
The National Herald has already published the names and stories of many – and is making every effort to record more – so that we can all honor them and for the historical record of the Community.
The Greek-Americans recorded by The Times are from different parts of the country.
Their stories, those few words that accompany their name and age, are very interesting. And revealing.
They are very talented and cover a wide range of human activity.
What these people have in common, scattered from California and Illinois to New York and Massachusetts, is their Greek descent.
Their full Greek names. They are not shortened.
In four of the entries there is a direct reference to their Greek origin: One was “known for her Greek chicken and stuffed peppers,” while another remained – at 98 years old – "proud of her Greek origin." One made the "best baklava, period" and it was said of another that "her authentic Greek cooking and dancing were second to none.”
Please make a note of that: I don't think there is any other ethnic group that takes such pride in its origins.
Finally, it is interesting that The Times made a mistake: it listed the same person twice: Gene Zahas, 78, Oakland; Eugene James Zahas, 78, Oakland, California.
Everlasting be their memory!