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VIDEO

Evzones March in the Rain to Greek Flag Raising at Bowling Green in NYC (VIDEO)

NEW YORK – The heavy rain did not deter the Hellenic Presidential Guard, the Evzones, and the participants in the march from St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center to the Greek flag-raising ceremony at Bowling Green in Manhattan on April 12.

The Evzones led the march from St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center to the Greek flag-raising ceremony at Bowling Green in Manhattan on April 12. Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos

The ceremony, which is one of New York Hellenism’s signature events celebrating the 203rd anniversary of Greek Independence leading up to Sunday’s Parade on Fifth Avenue, began with the Doxology at St. Nicholas, presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and with the Evzones in attendance.

The DGK School of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, was among those marching from St. Nicholas WTC to Bowling Green for the flag-raising ceremony on April 12. Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos

Also present at the Doxology were, among others, Consul General of Greece in New York Dinos Konstantinou, New Democracy member of the European Parliament Vangelis Meimarakis, Hellenic Parliament members Theofilos Xanthopoulos (SYRIZA), Milena Apostolaki (PASOK), and Nina Kasimati (SYRIZA) ), Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Ioannis Plakiotakis, Minister of Transport of the Republic of Cyprus Alexis Vafeades, Friends of Saint Nicholas Chairman Michael Psaros, and Leadership 100 Executive Director Paulette Poulos.

Immediately following the service, the march from St. Nicholas to Bowling Green park began. The march to the flag-raising ceremony was established last year, after St. Nicholas WTC reopened, with the participation of the Evzones. Halfway through the route, torrential rain broke out, which, despite the fact that it had been predicted as a possibility, caught many of the participants by surprise, as they followed along without umbrellas.

The Greek flag-raising ceremony took place at Bowling Green in in Manhattan on April 12 ahead of the Greek Independence Parade on Fifth Avenue on April 14. Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos

Nevertheless, the march with the Presidential Guard continued, in a setting that reminded many of last year’s 5th Avenue Parade, where hundreds had marched in similar weather for more than two hours.

The organizers decided, as the Evzones and the officials arrived at Bowling Green, to pause under a construction shed opposite the Park, while the person in charge of the event, Aris Kourkoumelis, and Parade Committee co-chair Nomiki Kastanas were trying to coordinate the program for the raising of the Greek flag.

The Evzones and the dignitaries paused under a construction shed opposite Bowling Green park until the downpour passed and the flag-raising ceremony could continue. Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos

Eventually, the weather improved and New York City Mayor Eric Adams arrived, attending the Bowling Green event for the first time. Holding a Greek flag, Mayor Adams again wove in praise of Greece and the Greek-American community, speaking warmly of the Greeks of New York.

“The rain will not stop us from raising the flag of this important community that has contributed to this great city. We want to continue to see you prosper and I thank His Eminence for his presence,” Adams said.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams at the Greek flag-raising ceremony at Bowling Green in Manhattan on April 12. Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos

Recordings of the Greek and U.S. National Anthems then accompanied the raising of each of the two flags. Following this, Parade Committee General Chairman Philip Christopher announced that, due to the weather conditions, the program of speeches could not take place and urged the entire Hellenic community to attend the parade on Fifth Avenue on Sunday, April 14.

Parade Committee General Chairman Philip Christopher and Archbishop Elpidophoros at the flag-raising in Bowling Green on April 12. Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos

“This ceremony today, which began with the Doxology at St. Nicholas WTC, was very moving and resurrected the immortal Greek spirit and the generosity of our expatriate ancestors, as well as the sacrifice of our ancestors and the fighters of 1821, which resurrected our enslaved homeland. But it is also a precursor to Sunday’s great celebration which will be the great historic parade on Fifth Avenue to which we invite everyone. It is a celebration of unity for the whole Nation, a celebration of Democracy and Freedom,” said Archbishop Elpidophoros. 

Archbishop Elpidophoros and Consul General of Greece in New York Dinos Konstantinou were among the dignitaries waiting for the rain to clear so the flag-raising ceremony could continue at Bowling Green in Manhattan. Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos

Hellenic Parliament Deputy Speaker Ioannis Plakiotakis shared similar sentiments, noting that “it is an honor and a pleasure to represent the Hellenic Parliament in this wonderful ceremony on the occasion of the raising of the Greek flag, a symbol of democracy, freedom, and equality.”

Finally, Mayor of Chios Dr. Ioannis Malafis emphasized that “the emotion is so great, we see the Greeks united and together we will claim everything that is worthy in our homeland.”

The Evzones and the dignitaries paused under a construction shed opposite Bowling Green park until the downpour passed and the flag-raising ceremony could continue. Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos

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