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A National Moment of Honor, Unity and Determination

Along with its tragic elements, it was also a profound national moment.

I am referring to what happened this week in Tripoli, where the entirety of Hellenism honored and bid farewell to the heroic Lieutenant Mario-Michael Touroutsikas, who lost his life when the warplane he was piloting crashed for unexplained circumstances.

It was a warm and human moment, one that reveals the nation as family – which also sent a strong message of determination that Greece will pay whatever price is necessary to protect its national sovereignty.

It was indeed an unusually public moment when the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister were so moved by the emotional pain they were experiencing that Mrs. Sakellaropoulou wiped her tears and Mr. Mitsotakis struggled to hold back his own.
It is an image that will be deeply etched in the national consciousness.

But we also saw, rejoiced in, and gained strength from another unusual image: the picture of the nation’s political leadership, the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition, side by side, honoring the life and death of a pilot who died in the service of his country – a hero, because no one who enters a warplane, even in peacetime, is certain that s/he will be coming home.

It is this spirit of political leadership that one wishes to see more often, at least in dealing with national issues.

But there was another implicit but strongly present dimension: the young hero sacrificed his life defending the homeland from the Turkish threat.

This threat, as expressed almost every day by Turkey’s supreme leadership, forces pilots, again, even in peacetime, to take extra dangerous steps to confront those threats.

I repeat that all this is a tragic but moving picture of national unity, which sends out a powerful message of determination in the face of Turkish provocations.

Eternal be the memory of the hero Marios-Michael Touroutsikas!


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