Left to right: John Polydouris presenting the Greek flag, Tim Rizzuto- Executive Director of the Destroyer Escort Historical Museum, and Rev. Fr. Patric Legato on board the USS Slater marking ‘OXI’ Day in Albany, NY. (Photo: Michael Koutsourades)
ALBANY, NY – The glorious and historic Hudson River that passes through Albany, NY was the setting of a special event marking Greece’s heroic fight in World War II. The USS Slater commemorated the 82nd anniversary of ‘OXI’ Day on Friday, October 28. The ship was built as Destroyer Escort #766 during World War II and served in the United States Navy during the battle of the North Atlantic from 1944 to 1945. In 1951, she was transferred to the Hellenic Navy with three sister ships as part of the Truman Doctrine. While in Greek services she was renamed Aetos (‘Eagle’). She performed patrol duty also and served as a training vessel for naval cadets until being decommissioned in 1991. In 1993, Destroyer escort veterans from across the United States donated more than $250,000 to bring her back to the United States as a museum ship. Moored on the Albany waterfront, the ship has been restored to its historic World War II appearance and is open for public tours. The ‘OXI’ Day ceremony commemorates the ship’s Hellenic history.
Greek-Americans throughout Upstate New York attended the event. Michael and Connie Labatos were in the audience of nearly 30 people. They traveled from Syracuse, New York, a two hour drive. Bill Seamon from Colonie, New York, commented “it was a very good ceremony, highlighting a very important subject.” Under the Greek flag and an ‘OXI’ banner, Rev. Fr. Patric Legato of St. Sophia Church in Albany delivered the invocation and key remarks. He highlighted how the USS Slater symbolized the shared values of both nations the ship has served. Tim Rizzuto, Executive Director of the USS Slater Destroyer Escort Historical Museum, spoke on the parallels between the Greek struggle in World War II and the current war in Ukraine.
The USS Slater Destroyer Escort Historical Museum hosted the event with the support of AHEPA Chapter 140 Albany, New York. For more information on the USS Slater please visit www.ussslater.org.
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