ATHENS – Despite canceling the March 25 Independence Day parade because of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis marked the anniversary as he called for togetherness, with people needing to rely on each other and follow lockdown requirements.
“The enemy is now the pandemic and against it we will parade our strength and unity,” Mitsotakis said.
“Only united nations can overcome difficulties. No social construct can stand without the foundation of Health. And no citizen can be well if others around (him or her) are not well,” he added.
He said the anniversary should be marked by people following orders to stay at home except for essential trips to supermarkets, pharmacies, doctors, hospitals or other essential businesses still open.
“The chieftains and flame throwers or our times are doctors and nurses: The heroes in white and green. It is incumbent on us to arm them with the munitions that save lives. And give them strength and bolster their spirit by obeying their instructions,” he said, reported Kathimerini.
Greece’s new President, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, said that just as Greeks fought the occupying Ottomans they should come together to stop the spread of COVID-19, with tight restrictions now in place.
“Those fighters who opened the way to Greece’s becoming an independent nation are today reflected in the faces of the heroes in the country’s daily struggles,” she said.
Greek president, prime minister honor Greek Independence Day at simple and brief ceremony
This year’s Greek Independence Day on March 25 was celebrated without parades marching by the stand of political leaders at Syntagma Square, following stringest measures to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Laying wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Parliament on Wednesday, President of the Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had a small audience consisting of the Parliament president, party leaders and the chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff, all standing on a straight line and at safe distances from one another. There was no public audience on the sidewalk across, and the band consisted of only ten individuals. There was no honor guard bestowing honor to state leaders.
The only other formal sign of the anniversary commemoration in central Athens was by air, with four fighter jets and six military helicopters flying over for the duration of the brief ceremony.
President Sakellaropoulou spent under 5 minutes at the Tomb, and after laying a wreath and expressing wishes, departed.
Mitsotakis, Parliament President Constantine Tassoulas, and party leaders Alexis Tsipras, Fofi Gennimata and Dimitris Koutsoubas held brief exchanges in pairs and keeping distances.
“Although this year there will be no parades, she said, “we see marching by us – and making us proud – the heroes in the increasingly difficult reality the country is experiencing: the armed forces that protect our borders from Turkish aggression, the security forces that remain vigilant, doctors and nurses, public administrators, workers who meet our daily needs, and the anonymous volunteers who do not expect reward or recognition,” she also added.