AURORA, IL – On September 25, the American Philhellenes Monument was dedicated in Wilder Park in Aurora with the leadership and members of the American Philhellenes Society (APS) present as well as Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago, Illinois State Senator Linda Panagopoulos Holmes, and Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, among others.
APS President Panagiotis Nikolopoulos said: “On behalf of the Directors and Advisors of the American Philhellenes Society, let me welcome you to Wilder Park in Aurora, Illinois and express our thanks for your encouragement and support throughout the years.
“For over two decades, the American Philhellenes Society has worked to cultivate and sustain the spirit of philhellenism that nurtured the love of democracy and support for the enslaved Greek nation. People of the arts, historians, politicians and common citizens provided worldwide ethical and material support. Some supported from a distance; some fought on Greek soil; some gave their life for these beliefs.
“Perhaps George Jarvis said it best: `Do not let America remain an indifferent spectator, among many nations, to the fearful but not hopeless battle.'
“Since our founding in 2002, we have worked to develop and maintain the friendly relationship and common aims of Greece and the United States that have existed and continue for 200 years and more. We have presented numerous programs and exhibits.
“We identified and installed a monument to Lucas Miltiadis Miller, the first Greek-American to serve in the United States Congress.
“Today, here in Aurora, Illinois we are proud to unveil and dedicate this monument to all American Philhellenes who supported, fought and shed their blood as Greece fought for her freedom and rebirth.
“I want to thank Peter Zouras and Z3 Solutions for their tireless efforts to bring this monument from drawings to reality… Thank you for joining us today,” concluded Nikolopoulos.
President of the “Greece 2021” Committee Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki sent a letter of greeting for the event, writing: “American philhellenes contributed to the Greeks' Struggle for Independence financially, as well as through volunteering in person and ensuring political support. The work of the American Philhellenes Society contributes to maintaining the friendly relationship of the two peoples intact, which is reflected in the monument inaugurated today; the monument, installed in Democracy Square in the Municipality of Aurora, Illinois, embodies not only the philhellenic spirit of the past, but also the dynamic presence of Greeks in the U.S. and the strong friendship and collaboration between the Greek and the American people.”
United States Senator Richard J. Durbin also sent a letter in honor of the event, noting that “this gathering is a special opportunity to recognize the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution, the great work of the City of Aurora and these great organizations involved. For decades, The American Philhellenes Society and Greek Metropolis of Chicago have provided the community with excellent historical and cultural programming. I applaud your commitment to bringing together the Hellenic community and keeping history alive through monuments like this one. Again, I would like to extend my warmest wishes to today's attendees for your dedication to the Greek-American community. Congratulations on all your work and achievements, and I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.”