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President Sakellaropoulou Addresses Nation on Greek Independence Day and COVID-19 (Vid)

Αssociated Press

Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou. (Alkis Konstantinidis/Pool via AP)

ATHENS - In 1821 the Greeks fought the Ottoman Turks as their enemy, President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou said on Tuesday, but today they fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Those fighters who opened the way to Greece's becoming an independent nation are today reflected in the faces of the heroes in the country's daily struggles.

Sakellaropoulou delivered her address ahead of Wednesday's commemorations, which this year have been curtailed due to preventative coronavirus measures.

Although this year there will be no parades, she said, "we see marching by us - and making us proud - the heroes in the increasingly difficult reality the country is experiencing: the armed forces that protect our borders from Turkish aggression, the security forces that remain vigilant, doctors and nurses, public administrators, workers who meet our daily needs, and the anonymous volunteers who do not expect reward or recognition."

Calling on the Greek people to overcome individualism and stay home for the common good, she noted that "personal responsibility, collaboration and solidarity are at the heart of the new patriotism that we need."

Sakellaropoulou expressed confidence in the lead scientist of the Health Ministry specialists group, and said she was full of hope after seeing that "political parties are collaborating and agreeing to face the common enemy." At critical times, she noted, political unity inspires and guides the people.

The Greek president concluded her commemoration message by saying that "today, we Greeks are waging one more historical battle" but not alone. The crisis will pass, she asserted, and all will contribute to the country's national recovery plan so that "next year we shall celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Revolution in 1821 in splendor."