WASHINGTON, DC – American Hellenic Institute (AHI) President Nick Larigakis has issued the following statement on March 25th to mark the historic Bicentennial of the Greek War for Independence:
“Today, we commemorate the 200th anniversary of Greece’s Independence and remember the heroes who fought and sacrificed to defeat Ottoman rule in a triumph for liberty. Each year, the Hellenic spirit reverberates strongly, but perhaps never as more as in 2021. Despite the conditions placed upon us by the coronavirus pandemic that still limit our traditional celebrations, parades, and gatherings in our community halls, we have found creative and safe ways to proclaim resoundingly our collective pride and joy in celebration of Greece’s Bicentennial.
Ancient Greece gave birth to the ideals and principles that are the foundation of western democracies. As such, all Americans share in the Hellenic spirit which is embedded in the DNA of our constitution and at the core of our cherished liberties.
As Americans of Greek heritage, we take special pride in the success of our great nation knowing that these Hellenic principles have provided the basis for the unprecedented prosperity of our country.
The American Revolution was inspired by the same ideals of the Enlightenment which inspired the Greek War of Independence. The American people manifested their adherence to these ideals through their ardent vocal and humanitarian support for the Greek cause. In fact, this vital role of support from American Philhellenes is one facet of an inspirational campaign launched by the U.S. Embassy in Athens to celebrate the 200-year friendship between the United States and Greece. Today, we must also look to the future and ensure the friendship and strategic partnership between these two longstanding allies remains strong and continues to flourish.
The celebration of Greek independence is an important reminder for free citizens around the world: Hellenism and the rule of law must be defended or else we can expect the slow erosion of the very principles that provide the underpinning of our society. Despite the heroic sacrifices and battles our ancestors have fought, the struggle continues.
We must not lose sight of the danger Turkey presents in the Eastern Mediterranean and to United States interests in the region. The community must engage our policymakers, educate them on these facts, and urge them to act.
Although commemorations for Greek Independence Day will again look different in this special Bicentennial year, we all look forward to celebrating future Greek Independence Days in a world free from the threat of coronavirus and amid an Eastern Mediterranean region that is stable and at peace.”