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General News

New York Greek Independence Parade Honors 1821 and Grim Anniversary for Cyprus (Vid & Pics)

April 15, 2024

NEW YORK – The New York Greek Independence Parade on Fifth Avenue, commemorating the 203rd anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821, was held in an atmosphere of emotion and pride on April 14. After a brief shower just moments before the parade began, sunny skies and warm temperatures soon bolstered the spirits of all those marching and watching from the sidelines.

The crowds lining Fifth Avenue cheered and were once again impressed by the sight of the Hellenic Presidential Guard, the Evzones, marching in the parade. The Old Philharmonic of Kerkyra performed beautiful renditions of the National Anthems of the U.S. and Greece as well as patriotic songs.

All ages marched in the parade and some marched twice if they could get through the crowds fast enough to reach their association, church or school group in time. One participant noted that she barely got back in time though the groups she was marching with were separated by about 28 other groups. Family and friends gathered, some who had not attended the parade in years, with many noting that they felt it was time to return to Fifth Avenue and show their Hellenic pride. Everyone shared their best wishes to Hellenism everywhere and looked forward to next year’s parade.

The turnout this year was one of the greatest in recent memory, due in part to the beautiful spring weather, but also undoubtedly to the emotionally-charged theme of the parade, the grim 50th anniversary of the illegal invasion and continuing occupation of Cyprus. The marchers sent a strong message with Cypriot flags waving alongside Greek and American ones as well as banners calling for the end of the Turkish occupation of Cyprus and proclaiming “Never forget!”

Earlier in the day, a Doxology service was held at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros and in the presence of the Evzones as well as the dignitaries and members of the Greek Parliament who arrived in New York to attend the parade.

Left to right: Stefanos Kasselakis, George Karlaftis, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, and His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America. Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos

Among those present were leader of opposition leader and president of SYRIZA Stefanos Kasselakis, New Democracy MEP Vangelis Meimarakis, the MPs Filippos Fortomas and Nina Kasimatis, Theophilos Xanthopoulos, Milena Apostolaki, Greek Ambassador to the U.S. Ekaterini Nassika, Consul General of New York Dinos Konstantinou, and the New Democracy candidate of the European Parliament Giorgos Aftias.

Grand Marshals for this year’s parade were Cypriot Minister of Transport, Communications and Works Alexis Vafeades and two-time Super Bowl champion with the Kansas City Chiefs George Karlaftis. Hellenic Minister of National Defense Nikos Dendias was also a Grand Marshal but did not attend the parade as he had departed for Greece due to the events in Israel.

The dignitaries on their way to the seating area at the Greek Independence Parade on Fifth Avenue in New York City, at left, SYRIZA leader Stefanos Kasselakis can be seen and at right, two-time Super Bowl winner with the Kansas City Chiefs George Karlaftis. Photo: TNH/Christodoulos Athanasatos

The Honorary Marshals were Chios Mayor Dr. Ioannis Malafis and in absentia the elected Mayor of Himara Dionysis Fredi Beleri.

The previous evening the dignitaries and honored guests had all attended the pre-parade Gala at the Hilton in Midtown which was unfortunately overshadowed by the departure of Minister of National Defense Dendias and the events in Israel.

The Hellenic Presidential Guard, the Evzones at the New York Greek Independence Parade on April 14. Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos
The Hellenic Lawyers Association was among those marching in the New York Greek Independence Parade on April 14. Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos
Left to right: Yiannis Stroumbakis, Stefanos Kasselakis, George Karlaftis, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and Cyprus Minister of Transport, Communications and Works Alexis Vafeades. Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos
Photo: TNH/Christodoulos Athanasatos
Photo: TNH/Christodoulos Athanasatos
New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris was one of the honored guests at this Year’s Greek Independence Parade on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos
The Hellenic Presidential Guard, the Evzones at the New York Greek Independence Parade on April 14. Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos
Photo: TNH/Christodoulos Athanasatos
Photo: TNH/Christodoulos Athanasatos
Participants from as far away as Montreal, Canada, were among those waiting on 63rd Street to march in the New York Greek Independence Parade on April 14. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
United Cyprians of America were among the marchers in this year’s Greek Independence Parade on Fifth Avenue on April 14. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
The Cyprus float highlighted the theme of this year’s parade the grim 50th anniversary of the illegal invasion and continuing occupation of Cyprus. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
Members of the Pancyprian Choir of New York with Artistic and Music Director Phyto Stratis were among the marchers in this year’s Greek Independence Parade on Fifth Avenue on April 14. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
Participants waiting to march in the New York Greek Independence Parade on April 14. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
Members of the Federation of Dodecanese Societies posed for a commemorative photo after marching in the New York Greek Independence Parade on April 14. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

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