Let us praise God who has deemed us worthy to see the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the Revolution that led to the rebirth of Hellas.
And let us pay tribute and glorify that generation of Greeks who shouted "Freedom or Death!"
Because, without Freedom, life is worthless.
"Better an hour of freedom, than forty years of slavery and imprisonment," said Rigas Feraios.
The Greeks’ struggle for freedom was complete madness. Few believed they could succeed.
According to Nikos Kazantzakis, the ‘kouzouli’ – ‘the crazy ones’ – took up arms.
However, the Revolution had been properly prepared abroad by the expatriate Greeks of the time, who, with Korais at the helm, brought the foreigners face to face with their responsibilities.
They reminded the Hellenes that the descendants of the ancient Greeks could not continue to live in slavery to the Ottoman Turks.
Inside Greece, the Greeks were fortunate to have great military leaders, such as Theodoros Kolokotronis, who was familiar with both the new military doctrines and the military technology of the time.
Unfortunately, the Revolution was in danger of being extinguished not only because the Sultan mobilized all his forces against it, but also, above all, because our national weakness soon emerged: the discord.
In the end, the great foreign powers of the time had to intervene to prevent the collapse of the Revolution, and thus the influence of foreigners since then – mainly due to loans – was established in Greece.
After the establishment of the Greek state in 1830, it continued to grow, liberating more and more Turkish-occupied areas.
The ‘Megali Idea’ – ‘The Great Idea,’ the dream of gathering all the Hellenes into the new state was born. Sometimes it led to triumphs and sometimes to disasters – like the Asia Minor Catastrophe.
During all the struggles, and mainly from the Balkan Wars onwards, expatriates, who now numbered in the hundreds of thousands abroad participated wholeheartedly in the struggle.
Many of them returned home and fought. The others helped in any way they could from the places where they lived, especially in America.
Today, 200 years later, Hellenism can be proud of its independent state. A state to which everyone can belong, because as General Makrygiannis said, it belongs to all of us.
Today, 200 years later, our souls justifiably throb with emotion.
Today, 200 years later, we justly celebrate and justly thank those who resurrected the Greek Nation. Especially those who fell on the battlefields to preserve freedom. And all of those men and women who worked strenuously to create the Greek state we know today.
We feel chills today when we contemplate the course of our Nation over the past 200 years and we are stunned by the thought of what we would be today without the sacrifices and contributions of our ancestors.
But while we must always honor and glorify our ancestors, our eyes must be on the future. After all, that will be their greatest justification and legacy.
We must look to the future with the confidence that we deserve a bright future having just gone through the most difficult period in our recent history.
We must believe in ourselves, based on the knowledge of what we have achieved, as well as the belief that we are able to achieve much more with the full mobilization of all the forces of our Nation.
No one has a monopoly in the country, neither inside nor outside. Greece belongs to all of us.
And only when we cooperate and coordinate our forces, only then will the new Greek miracle be created.
Long live Greece!