5th Annual Greek Independence Day Parade in Detroit Going Strong

NEW YORK – An estimated 10,000 people participated and observed the 5th annual Greek Independence Parade in Detroit, Michigan on Sunday, April 2. The Detroit Parade was revived in 2002 after almost 25 years.

*#8220;We were very successful this year,*#8221; said Parade Committee Chairman George Reganis, who is also President of the Federation of Sterea Hellas – USA and Canada. More Hellenic groups participated in this years Detroit Parade than last year, despite cool weather, he said.
Among other organizations who participated this year were the Nafpaktian Brotherhood from Cleveland, Ohio which brought along a group of Evzones, formed by members of the groups youth, following the example of the Hellenic Republics elite Presidential Guard, which marches in New Yorks Greek Independence Parade each year.
*#8220;The streets of Detroit were filled with people, at the conclusion of the Parade, and during the speeches and traditional dancing,*#8221; Mr. Reganis told the Herald. *#8220;Putting together the Parade was exhausting; but it was worth it,*#8221; he added. *#8220;We want to thank our local businessman, Pete Karmanos (chairman of Compuware Company), who helped us a great deal,*#8221; he added.

Chris Tomaras, Council of Hellenes Abroad North *amp; South America Regional Vice President, was this years Grand Marshal. He was joined by United States Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, both of Michigan, Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit – also the Parade Committees Honorary Chairman – and on behalf of the General Consulate of Chicago, Vice Consul Vassiliki Grivitsopoulou.
A total of 14 Archdiocesan communities participated, along with 20 community organizations and six dance groups, whose members marched in traditional Greek costumes.
The Detroit Parade featured a total of eight floats. It started on Monroe Street; continued through Woodward Avenue and ended at the heart of Detroits historic Greektown, near the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral.
Greek Americans from across Michigan, as well as from Ohio and Ontario, attended. Several elected officials also joined the festivities, to include Detroit City Councilors Monica Conyers and Martha Reeves, and suburban municipal officials Bob Constan and Sherry Stefanes.
After the Parade, a ceremony was held at the end of the Parade route. Rich Mayk, a longtime Detroit television personality and parish council member at the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in St. Claire Shores, was master of ceremonies.
The program opened with the Greek, American and Canadian national anthems. Metropolitan Nicholas conducted an abbreviated Doxology. The crowd was then addressed by several dignitaries, Wayne State University College of Arts *amp; Sciences Dean Robert Thomas among them. A special tribute was presented in honor of the occasion, signed by Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm and all three Greek American members of the Michigan State Legislature: State Senator Tony Stamas and State Reps. Jim Plakas and Fran Amos.
Those attending the celebratory event were treated to a fine display of traditional Greek dancing during a performance by the six participating dance groups.
*#8220;Greek Independence Day Parades are the only event which unite Hellenism in America, young and old, every year,*#8221; Mr. Reganis said, saying the community of Detroit would get together again next year to celebrate Greek Independence.

TEXT OF SPECIAL GID TRIBUTE IN MICHIGAN

SPECIAL TRIBUTE in Recognition of Greek Independence Day

hspace=4The 93rd Legislature at Lansing, March 25, 2006
Let it be known that it is a distinct privilege to commemorate Greek Independence Day – March 25, 2006. The birth of democracy in Greece over 2,500 years ago brought to our civilization many treasures and our greatest legacy: our democratic government. Americas forefathers were deeply influenced by their zest for truth and justice which guided political theory. When crafting the United States Constitution, Greek principles were embedded in our form of government, which gives way to the belief that the power to govern derives from the people.
Greece is one of only three nations in the world, beyond the former British Empire, which has been allied with the United States in every major international conflict in the 20th Century, including World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and the Balkans. Greece played a major role in the World War II struggle to protect freedom and democracy through such bravery as was shown in the historic Battle of Crete and in Greece, presenting the Axis land war with its first major setback.
Sir Winston Churchill said of the Greeks after this fighting, *#8220;Hence, we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like Greeks.*#8221; The government of Greece has declared its solidarity with the American people, and has pledged to back efforts to combat and eradicate terrorism in the aftermath of terrorist attacks on the United States of America. Greece and the United States are at the forefront of the effort for freedom, democracy, peace, stability and human rights, forging a close bond between the two countries. March 25, 2006 marks the 185th anniversary of the beginning of the revolution which freed the Greek people.
On Sunday, April 2, 2006, Greek Americans will come together in Detroit, Michigan for song, prayer, feast, dance and a parade to celebrate and recognize the beginning of Greeces fight for independence from the Ottoman Turks. The Greek patriots chose this religious day on which to declare independence in order to honor the Church and its role in maintaining Greek culture, language and the ideals of freedom and democracy. These ideals are among Greeces most cherished and revered contributions to mankind – ideals which have played a central role in the history of our great country. And so it is most fitting that we observe a day in celebration of Greek Independence.
In special tribute, therefore, this document is signed and dedicated to celebrate Greek Independence Day, and may all Greek Americans know of our admiration and best wishes for a joyous celebration.

Jennifer M. Granholm, Governor
Tony Stamas, State Senator
(R-36th District)
Jim A. Plakas, State
Representative (D-16th District)
Frances C. Amos, State
Representative (R-43rd District)