The Washington Oxi Day Foundation 7th Annual Celebration of Oxi

L to R: Ambassador of Greece to the US Haris Lalacos, Jim Chanos, US Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, Bruce Mosler, Andy Manatos, Helen Maroulis. Photo by Bill Petros

WASHINGTON, DC – The Washington Oxi Day Foundation 7th Annual Celebration of Oxi courage, past and present, took place in Washington, DC on October 25-27. At the Black Tie Banquet and Award Presentation on October 26, North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho and leading voice against Islamist extremism Ayaan Hirsi Ali received the Oxi Courage Award for their David-vs-Goliath courage against the great evils of today, in the spirit of what the Greeks did in WWII.

 Leading humanitarian Bruce Mosler received the Metropolitan Chrysostomos Award for his efforts to fight anti-semitism and discrimination. US Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin introduced Mosler, history-making US Olympic Gold Medalist Helen Maroulis introduced Hirsi Ali, and National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman introduced Seong-ho. Washington Oxi Day Foundation Board Members Jim Chanos and Nicholas Logothetis, as well as Foundation President Andy Manatos also delivered remarks.

Earlier in the day, at the National World War II Memorial, the Foundation honored a Greek, an American, and a Greek-American WWII veteran with its Greatest Generation Award: Greek-American George Possas, former US Senator Senator Daniel Inouye and Eleftherios Smyrniotopoulos. The Jaharis Service Award was presented to Peter Vlachos for his service in the Korean War and, in the spirit of Michael Jaharis, his service to the Greek-American community, our country, and the world.

Activities began with a reception at the Greek Ambassador’s residence on October 25 and ended with a wreath laying ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on October 27 in honor of those who lost their lives in WWII when Greece said OXI to surrender.

L to R: National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, Oxi Day Foundation Board Member Jim Chanos, Oxi Courage Award recipient Ji Seong-ho, Metropolitan Chrysostomos Award recipient Bruce Mosler, Foundation President Andy Manatos. Photo by Bill Petros

As noted on the Washington Oxi Day Foundation website, “Today’s heroes around the world who – in the spirit of Oxi Day – courageously battle Goliaths for freedom and democracy are nominated by America’s policymakers and opinion leaders to be honored before international and national leaders convening in Washington, D.C. each October for the Annual Washington Oxi Day Celebration.”

The Washington Oxi Day Foundation, as noted on their website, is a nonprofit, 501c3 organization dedicated to informing American policymakers and the public about the profound role Greece played in bringing about the outcome of World War II and celebrating modern day heroes who exhibit the same courage as the Greeks did in continuing to fight to preserve and promote freedom and democracy around the world.

The free world watched as one by one countries across Europe surrendered to Hitler’s Axis forces. At 3 AM on October 28, 1940, a representative of the Axis forces arrived at the Greek prime minister’s residence and demanded Greece’s surrender. The prime minister replied with one single word – Oxi – No.

A few hours later, the Axis forces descended on Greece, expecting that it would quickly fall, but the Greek resistance forced Hitler to change his plans. News of Greece’s victory flooded the radio airwaves and covered the front pages of newspapers around the globe. A grateful world celebrated – no one expected such a small nation to derail the seemingly unstoppable Axis forces.

More information is available online at www.oxidayfoundation.org.

World War II veteran George Possas and his daughter Denise Possas Bocchicchio. Photo by Bill Petros
Foundation Executive Director Mike Manatos, Ji Seong-ho, Jaharis Service Award recipient Peter Vlachos, US Ambassador of Greece to the US Haris Lalacos. Photo by Bill Petros