THESSALONIKI — History teaches the Greek people that Greece "becomes stronger and overcomes every obstacle when it is united," Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said from Thessaloniki on Wednesday, "Ohi" Day.
The national holiday celebrates the refusal of the Greek government to grant permission to Italy to enter Greek territory in 1940, leading to Greece's invasion by Mussolini's Italy and its eventual occupation by Nazi Germany.
Calling the event "one of the most outstanding moments of Greek history," Sakellaropoulou described Greece as "a small nation that defied the military superiority of the Axis powers sweeping through Europe, standing tall and deflecting the fascist invasion." Greece, she said, "chose the right side of history, defended liberty, justice and human values against the barbarity of fascism and the violence of nazism, overcame fear, fought valiantly under the worst possible conditions and gained the admiration of the entire world."
That event still inspires Greeks, the president noted. Today, under difficult circumstances, in the midst of a pandemic and tension in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, the event, she underlined, serves as a model of solidarity, unity and national self-confidence. "History teaches us that our homeland becomes stronger and overcomes everyobstacle when it is united," she added.
As the president of Greece lay a wreath at the Heroes Monument at the 3rd Army Battalion in Thessaloniki, Air Force jets and then helicopters flew over the city.
Sakellaropoulou is in the northern Greek capital on a three-day tour that will end with a visit to the Byzantine monastery of Vlatades in the metropolitan area.