NEW YORK – Whether or not the annual gathering of Greeks and Philhellenes is crowned with sunshine, the flag raising at historic Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan is always a beautiful beginning for Greek Parade weekend in New York.
The delightful dancing of the children of Brooklyn’s A. Fantis and the Hellenic Classical Charter School, and the sunny disposition of the Emcee, attorney Mamie Stathatos-Fulgieri, made people forget the clouds overhead.
The keynote speaker was Madeline Singas, Acting District Attorney for Nassau County. Stathatos-Fulgieri called her “the quintessential offspring of Greek parents” who rose through hard work and perseverance and is a product of Greek-American education at St. Demetrios of Astoria.
“I am proud to be a Greek-American of parents from the great Epiros,” Singas said. They showed her that the way to success is through education. “We are all equal. In America, it’s not who you know, it’s what you know,” and declared that education brought her family form the rugged terrain of Epiros to the halls of the District Attorney’s office,” Singas said.
Arthur Piccolo, president of the Bowling Green Association, recounted the story of the civic endeavor of Demosthenes Liberatos, Theodore Pavlakos and Dino Rallis, who fought the City for the right to erect a second flag pole on the island in the middle of Broadway so that the Greek flag can rise in honor of Greek Independence Day.
Piccolo also contributed to the triumph that has since made it possible for the flags of hundreds of groups to fly next to America’s.
Among the speakers who invited everyone – Greek and non-Greek alike – to turn Fifth Avenue blue and white on March 29 was Amb. George Iliopoulos, Consul General of Greece, Petros Galatoulas, president of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater NY, which organizes the parade, Vasilios Gournelos, parade chairman, and grand marshals John and Eleni Psarras.
General Frangoulis Frangos (Ret.), former Chief of Staff of Greece’s armed forces, thanked the organizers and the more than 180 who travelled from Greece to participate in the parade in addition to the beloved Evzones, the Presidential Guard of the Republic of Greece which was led by Colonel Aristides Iliopoulos.
Evanthia Frangiskakos displayed the spirit of the Hellenic Diaspora which made such great contributions to the fight for independence. On her own, she purchased dozens of Greek flags and distributed them to passersby and participants so they could share in the dual celebration of Hellenism and Freedom.