The Community in Philadelphia and surrounding areas presented our first Greek Parade of the year last Sunday, marking the anniversary of the start of the 1821 Revolution.
The Revolution that, beyond all expectations, led to the freedom of mainland Greece after 400 whole years of slavery under the Ottoman Empire.
The related events, and of course, the parade, were brightened by the Greek Presidential Guard, the Evzones. Their mere presence spreads pride and optimism for Greece and its future.
This year’s events celebrating the rebirth of Hellas, under the current conditions of war and uncertainty in Europe, have a special symbolic meaning: They declare the non-negotiable national sovereignty of the country.
They remind all, but they also send the message where it belongs, to Turkey, that Hellenism is not measured by numbers, but by the power of its soul.
And in this day and age this message is more relevant than ever.
However, some observations are inevitable:
The Philadelphia Community, although clearly smaller than New York’s, has shown that Hellenism succeeds if it has the right leadership.
At the same time, it made the sad situation in New York more vivid and urgent, where, despite the good intentions of the warring parties, individuals and organizations have abolished and dissolved each other.
And it is at such moments, as the present, that the absence of a strong organization and a dynamic leadership becomes more keenly felt.
It is at such times that those involved must realize that the people involved must either continue working together or, if that is not possible, withdraw completely in order for a new leadership to succeed them.
We understand that there is some justice in the cases of both sides. However, they both need to understand that their real cases, their duties, transcend their personal agendas and selfishness. And that the planned parade in New York in June offers them the opportunity to see the big picture, to solve this long-standing problem.
We also salute and honor the Communities of Baltimore, Detroit, Florida, Chicago, California, and elsewhere that have already had or have scheduled their parades.
Warm congratulations again to the Community of Philadelphia and let me humbly note that the former Metropolitan of New Jersey Evangelos also had a place in the events and their parade – let us not forget that during his tenure, feeling and following his own ethnic pulse, he established the New Jersey parade.