FILE- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of Calif., right, and Vice President Kamala Harris, left, applaud as Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis delivers remarks to a joint session of Congress, Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
WASHINGTON, DC – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis made a special mention of the Greek-American community during his historic speech to the joint session of the U.S. Congress on May 16.
The following is the video of Mitsotakis’ words about the Greek-American community:
Esteemed members of Congress,
Let me conclude by making a special reference to the one unshakable bond that will always bind our countries together. The Greek American community.
It is a special moment to see so many of you here with us today.
Over the past 120 years you have warmly welcomed, encouraged and supported the waves of immigrants who came to your country in search of a better life. Not to mention the students like me who spent seven years studying in American universities.
Those who sailed to this country were not philosophers and poets like their noble ancestors. For the most part, they were simple laborers, and they eagerly took any work they could find.
But no matter how uneducated the Greeks or how menial their work, they would typically apply themselves with great determination and embrace any chance to prosper in life and educate their children.
They offered them a brighter future, fulfilling the solemn duty that every generation should be able to live a better life than the previous one. They experienced the American dream, but never forgot where they came from.
Today the Greeks who live in the US and the three million Americans who identify themselves as Greeks include some of the most respected leaders in the arts, science, education, medicine, the judiciary, and, of course, politics.
Modern visionaries like Nikolas Negroponte and Albert Bourla. John Kassavetis and Elia Kazan. Jeffrey Evgenidis and George Pelekanos. Alexander Payne and Tom Hanks. And of course, Yannis Antetokounmpo.
Six of them are in this Congress and one of them, my friend Mike Dukakis, ran for president of the United States.
I think one of the reasons Greeks were accepted in America so readily is the fact that the values of America are Greek values. On of the qualities that Greeks value the most is called “Sophrosene,” a word best translated as self-control, temperance, and harmony.
The ancient Greeks thought arrogance, extremism, and excess the worst threats to democracy. “For man,” Aristotle wrote, “life according to reason is best and most pleasant, since reason more than anything else is man.”
That reason tells me we Greeks and Americans have a lot more to contribute as custodians of democracy. That government of the people, by the people, for the people shall thrive again.
I bring you here today the pledge of the Greek people that we stand together with the people of the United States whenever and wherever necessary to ensure that the hope our ancestors bequeathed to the world 25 cαenturies ago will endure, and the dream of freedom for every human being on this planet will never die.
Long live the friendship between Greece and the United States of America!
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