DETROIT – Traditionally a center of vibrant dining and entertainment, Detroit’s Greektown could not be without a 2021 Greek Independence Day parade, no matter how small. The local community there celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Hellenic Revolution on the famous Monroe Street to honor Hellenic history despite challenges.
Taking part in the march were AHEPA District #10 Evzones Petros Besieris and Alexandros Politis, who were joined by His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit along with members of Detroit's Greek Independence Day Committee.
“Despite the small attendance today, it is a true honor to represent our heritage, culture, and bicentennial anniversary that honors our departed heroes who ultimately made the sacrifice to allow Greece to become an independent country,” said lead Evzone Petros Besieris. “I am humbled to represent myself as an Evzone, honoring the uniform, and being a part of such a historical milestone that we can celebrate here in America,” he said.
Historically, the Evzones were elite light infantry units based in the Greek mountains and today are honored as members of the Presidential Guard, a ceremonial unit of soldiers that protect and honor the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Presidential Mansion in Athens.
President of the Detroit Greek Independence Day Parade Committee, and owner of Detroit's Golden Fleece and Bakalikon, Yanni Dionisopoulos, led the committee, which decided to host a smaller event to accommodate safety measures, but also commemorate the bicentennial anniversary.
"During these unprecedented times, the Greek community of Detroit still honored the institution of our heritage and culture along with the bicentennial anniversary of our freedom with a simple and humble march down our historic Greek street with just a few members of the community,” Dionisopoulos said. “We felt obligated, and it was our duty as Greek-Americans to celebrate and honor those fallen for us to be enjoying what we have today. Ζήτω η ελευθερία!"
Located northeast of the heart of downtown Detroit, the city’s Greektown is home to several Greek-owned businesses and restaurants, as well as Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral.