WASHINGTON, DC – On October 28, Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) introduced a bipartisan resolution to designate October 28th as OXI Day alongside Hellenic Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Bilirakis (FL-12) and Maloney (NY-12). On October 28, 1940 Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas refused to surrender to Axis forces, answering “Oxi!” – or “No!” – to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s 3 A.M. ultimatum that he allow Axis forces to freely enter Greece or face war. Prime Minister Metaxas’ refusal to relent to fascism sparked a national resistance movement and Greece ultimately became the first country to repel the Axis invasion. Greece’s resistance required Nazi forces to delay their invasion of Russia to intervene in the Greco-Italian War, a delay which caused the Nazi regime to face a brutal Russian winter which hindered their advance and ultimately led to their eventual defeat.
“On October 28, 1940, the Greek people demonstrated unprecedented spirit and courage, changing the trajectory of history,” said Congressman Chris Pappas. “81 years later the Greek community continues to celebrate our refusal to bow to the Axis powers. As a proud Greek-American and in recognition of this year’s bicentennial of the Greek Revolution, I am honored to lead this resolution that celebrates our Greek allies and our shared democratic values.”
The resolution has the support of the Washington Oxi Day Foundation, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (Order of AHEPA), the Daughters of Penelope, PSEKA, the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), and the American Hellenic Institute (AHI).
“On this day, 81 years ago, Greece stood up against the powers of evil by replying `OXI!’ or `NO!’ to Fascist subjugation. The Greek people could not idly stand by and allow the evils of Fascism to consume Europe,” said Congressman Bilirakis. “Greece decided to fight for democracy, liberty, and justice, or otherwise see these treasured virtues—originally fostered in Ancient Greece—extinguished under the darkness of Fascism.”
“On this day eight decades ago, brave Greek patriots said `NO’ to fascism, `NO’ to injustice, and `NO’ to slavery,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “Oxi Day serves as more than a memory, it is the embodiment of Hellenism and its highest ideals. I join all those in NY-12 and across the world in saluting the heroes of Oxi Day, for in their brave words and deeds we see all of the highest virtues of Hellenic heritage: passion for justice, courage at a time of trial, unity in the midst of conflict, and willingness to sacrifice one’s life for the good of others.”
“I am proud to join my colleagues in the Hellenic Caucus as we celebrate the brave spirit, strength and patriotism of the Greek people on this day in 1940,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “The Greek people’s shouts of `Oxi!’ rallied the country against the invading Axis powers. That cry of defiance stands as a historic declaration against the oppression of a free people. As we honor their heroism with this resolution, we must fiercely defend freedom and democracy in our own country and throughout the world.”
“Thank you, Congressman Chris Pappas, for highlighting Oxi Day for the Congress and the people of the United States. It is one of the most pivotal moments in modern history that changed the trajectory for all our lives,“ said Andy Manatos, Founder and President of the Washington Oxi Day Foundation. “It is remarkable how little Greece, alone in the world, challenged `the German monster’ that crushed 14 nations, including the strongest, and moved British Prime Minister Churchill to later observe that without Greece’s unthinkable courage Adolf Hitler might have won the war and his goal of world domination.”
“Congressman Pappas’ resolution, marking the 70th anniversary of OXI Day, is especially important on the heels of the third Strategic Dialogue and the new Mutual Defense and Cooperation Agreement between the US and Greece. All Americans should note that Greece stood on the front lines for the Allies – at great cost to its people – during World War II, and that it similarly stands on the front lines for today’s Western alliance,” said Endy Zemenides, Executive Director, Hellenic American Leadership Council.
“Greece’s role in WWII is truly significant, and may have tilted the tide of the war against the axis powers,” said Nick Larigakis, President, American Hellenic Institute. “However, Greece’s pivotal place in history in this respect is not well known or understood. As such, I am glad that Congressman Pappas is highlighting Greece’s historical importance in World War II through a congressional Oxi Day resolution.”
“The International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) has been fighting for Freedom and Justice for Cyprus,” said Philip Christopher, President of the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA). “May the spirit of Oxi Day lead to Freedom for Cyprus!”
“AHEPA applauds and proudly supports the Oxi Day resolution introduced by Congressman Pappas with the bipartisan support of several Hellenic Caucus members,” said AHEPA Supreme President Jimmy Kokotas. “I commend their leadership to commemorate the anniversary of Oxi Day and to recognize the historical significance of Greece’s role during World War II. Greece’s denial of fascism set the tone and does not garner the attention it deserves in the annals of history.”
“The Daughters of Penelope sincerely appreciates Congressman Pappas’ commitment to the proper recognition of Oxi Day with his sponsorship of a resolution to properly recognize the significance and legacy of Greece’s defiant `No’ to Axis Powers in the early stages of World War II. We also thank and commend the bipartisan support of many Hellenic Caucus members who joined on the resolution as original co-sponsors. We proudly support the resolution,” said Daughters of Penelope Grand President Kathy Bizoukas.