BALTIMORE – A brilliant Hellenic Blue sky crowned the glory of Greece that shines in the hearts of the Hellenes of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC at the Greek Independence parade in Baltimore on April 3.
More than 50 groups, including parishes from all over the region and as far away as Richmond’s Sts. Constantine and Helen Cathedral, college Greek clubs, and regional orgnizations participated in the city’s 19th annual parade.
Father Michael Pastrikos, pastor of the Church of St. Nicholas, which is located in the heart of Baltimore’s Greek Town where the parade takes place, presided over the liturgy and the doxology which followed. During his brief remarks after acknowledging the dignitaries including officials from the Greek Embassy in Washington, he emphasized the importance of preserving the Greek language in America.
Among the highlights of parade day – the pride and joy of the community along with the children who march are the “Evzones of the Maryland Independence Day Parade” – was a moving ceremony featuring the evzones when wreaths were laid before a replica of Greece’s Tomb of the Unknown soldier. Established in 1997, the evzones are now led and trained by Stavros Katsas, a former sergeant of the Greek Presidential Guard.
All the speakers praised the work of the parade committee led by this year’s chairman,George Strakias, who also served and the English-language emcee; Joanne Trikoulis was the Greek-language announcer.
A big cheer erupted when Georgia Valas was surprised by being presented the Paul Sarbanes Public Service Award by the beloved Senator himself, who attended with his son Congressman John Sarbanes.
More to follow.