MIDDLETOWN, NY – On October 27, AHEPA Hudson Odysseus Chapter 545 presented a display of World War II-era artifacts for the commemoration of OXI Day to help keep the history alive and remembered.
At 3 AM on the morning of October 28, 1940, Emanuele Grazzi, the Italian ambassador to Greece, delivered an ultimatum from fascist dictator Benito Mussolini to Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas. Il Duce demanded that Metaxas allow the Italian army free passage to enter and occupy strategic sites in Greece unopposed. Metaxas delivered an unequivocal response in French, the diplomatic language of the day, “Alors, c’est la guerre.” This brief phrase, “Then, it is war,” was quickly transmuted into the laconic “OXI,” the Greek for no, by the citizens of Athens.
At 5:30 AM well before the deadline the Italians had given, the Italian army poured over the Greek-Albanian border into the mountainous Pindos region of Northern Greece. There they met fierce and unexpected resistance, delivering the first victory against the fascist forces which had overrun most of Europe by that time. The Greeks’ heroism against the odds delayed Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union and turned the tide of the war.
The display was held at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Middletown, NY. The chapter also hosted a complimentary breakfast including french toast, pancakes, eggs, sausage, and more. Donations supported the community’s Greek School, Sunday School, and Youth Dance Group.