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AHEPA Celebrates 1st Monument in Honor of Demetri Ypsilanti in Namesake City

YPSILANTI, MI – On March 22, in Michigan, AHEPA continued its Greek Bicentennial celebration honoring its first ever monument. This monument is a marble statue of Demetri Ypsilanti, the Greek revolutionary hero.

The event was attended by His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit and Ypsilanti Mayor Lois Richardson. The chair and Master of Ceremonies was Past Supreme Governor Craig Theros of Ann Arbor Chapter 195. Supreme Governor Nick Regopoulos, District 10 Governor Demetris Papageorgiou and many past District 10 Governors also were in attendance. Attendees from all over the Automotive district participated including its Daughters of Penelope and Sons of Pericles.

The anthems of both Greece and the United States were performed by Yan W. Theros and Socrates D. Papageorgiou. A historical reflection was presented by AHEPA historian Nicholas Stamos. A Daughters of Penelope presentation on the women of the Greek revolution was given by Professor Eleni Tratras Contis. Supreme President Horiates spoke on the significance of AHEPA and its role in the alliance between the two nations, noting the forefathers of today’s AHEPA understood the need to promote and preserve the contributions and sentiments of the American philhellene.

Addressing Mayor Richardson, the Supreme President said, “To America, people like Demetri Ypsilanti were revered as defenders of Hellenism. To rename a town in his honor, and to have AHEPA forever memorialize this decision, is truly remarkable. AHEPA is here today in this the Bicentennial year of Greece to historically record and celebrate these stories – of heroism and of your most honorable residents of Ypsilanti of almost 200 years ago, which forever stands as a testament to the contributions of Greece to our culture and the inspiration Greece served during its heroic stance for freedom.”

The book, titled The History of Ypsilanti, reads:

“Among the notable world events of the times was the Greek revolution. In this splendid struggle of the Greek people against Turkish tyranny appeared a historic figure, Demetrios Ypsilanti. With 300 men he held the Citadel of Argos for three days against an army of 30,000. Then, having exhausted his provisions, he had escaped one night beyond the enemy lines with his entire command, having not lost a single man. Such an exploit was calculated to touch the world’s fancy, and in America the name was lauded, while quantities of clothing and provisions were gathered for the destitute Greek people.”

The city of Ypsilanti was renamed after Ypsilanti as an honor by the philhellenes of the area. Originally named Woodruff’s Grove, this Michigan community changed its name to Ypsilanti in 1829, the year its namesake effectively won the war for Greek Independence at the Battle of Petra. The AHEPA monument of Demetrios Ypsilantis stands between a Greek and a U.S. flag at the base of the landmark Ypsilanti Water Tower.

Supreme President George G. Horiates elevated the status of AHEPA’s first public work, listing it as first on the AHEPA Monument list as AHEPA begins to chronicle its almost 100 year history.

The monument dedication occurred at AHEPA’s 6th Supreme Convention, held in Detroit in 1928. The following is an account of the Detroit Free Press of August 27, 1928:

“The opening in Detroit today of the convention of the National Order of AHEPA will be marked by the arrival of hundreds of Greek-Americans, who, during the course of the meeting will dedicate at Ypsilanti a monument to General Demetrios Ypsilanti, in whose honor the city was named… The unfurling of the Ypsilanti monument, which is from the same ancient quarries from which the Parthenon was built, touches the history of Michigan and Detroit, as well as that of the city of Ypsilanti…. The Order of AHEPA throughout the United States contributed funds for the purchase and presentation to the city.”

After the Greek Bicentennial celebration at Ypsilanti, the Supreme President was given a tour of adjacent Eastern Michigan University, escorted by Eastern Michigan University Professor Eleni Tratras Contis, members of District 10 and the local Evzones. There they honored the Supreme President at the monument of Icaros donated by the Pan Icarian Brotherhood, in honor of the Supreme President’s ancestral roots.

AHEPA will continue providing these timely remembrances and stories that need to be told, commemorating the brave Greeks and their friends who fought for freedom 200 years ago.

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