BOSTON – “The Greek civilization is everything that we have here in the United States” Mayor Jim Donchess of Nashua, New Hampshire declared when addressing a group of Greek-Americans of all generations gathered outside City Hall in a solemn and impressive brief ceremony celebrating the 200-year anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821 that led to the liberation of Greece.
He went on saying that “Greek Civilization really is the foundation of the entirety Western Civilization. The ideas regarding individual liberty, responsibility, democracy which resulted in the United States and other democratic countries around the World. So it is great to be here celebrating the freedom of Greece.”
The event was organized by the local AHEPA Chapter and the St. Philip Greek Orthodox parish in Nashua. Mayor Donchess raised the flag of Greece on the official flag pole of City Hall which is visible from a great distance.
While the Greek Flag was going up the flagpole the participants were singing the national anthem of Greece followed by the American national anthem.
Mayor Donchess offered a very moving proclamation praising Greece and also made reference to the presence and achievements of the Greek-American Community of Nashua.
Present was also Efstathia Booras (Democratic Party) is a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, representing Hillsborough 33. She assumed office on December 2, 2020.
Athanasios Liakos, former president of the St. Philip Parish Council and currently member of the Council as well as a prominent member of the local Greek-American Community delivered a very thoughtful speech referring to the events of the Independence of Greece.
Liakos said among other things that “today we are here to celebrate and honor our heritage and our Ancestors, The Greek Revolution and Greek independence. Your presence here honors the war heroes who sacrificed their life against all odds in order for us to have a better life. After 400 years of brutal oppression by the Ottoman Empire the Greek people under the most difficult circumstances fought and gained their freedom. Their battle cry was ‘Elefteria H Thanatos, Niki i Thanatos!’ Two hundred years was not that long ago. They were prisoners in their own country. The Greek people were living under the most brutal conditions, most being starved to death and barely hanging on to their culture, religion, and language. They were being heavily taxed, they could not own property, could not bear arms, and could not even own a horse.”
In another instance he said that “ultimately in 1814 there was a secret organization that was formed, the Filiki Eteria, which means friendly society, within Europe, Balkans and Greece! The Filiki Eteria secretly allowed them to write a charter on which to base a new born nation Free from Ottoman rule called the Hellenic Republic. The war heroes like Kolokotronis, Ypsilantis, Karaiskakis, Mavromihalis, Bouboulina, and Diakos sacrificed everything including their lives in order to free their homeland from the Ottoman rule. How did they do it? It wasn’t easy! Most lived in the highlands, the mountains of Mani and Souli and became great warriors. That was the only way they could survive. They also learned the art of battle by becoming mercenary fighters for Ali Pasha and other rulers throughout Europe. When the time came they all knew what was required of them in order to remove the enemy from their homeland. The day was March 25th 1821, which was the same date of the announcement of the Incarnation to the Virgin Mary when the Archangel Gabriel informed her that she would be the mother of Jesus Christ. The Greeks had a deep faith in God and Country – Patrida, which motivated them even when they were outnumbered 10 to 1! The famous general Kolokotronis was quoted saying “Greeks, God has signed our Liberty and will not go back on his promise,” two hundred years ago when the battle cry of Niki or Thanatos meant victory or Death – no retreat and no surrender.”