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The Meaning and Mystery of Anniversaries

Whether or not we have had good experiences with math, we love figures, don’t we? Sports statistics (April is not the cruelest month – baseball is coming), lucky numbers. They are all meaningful to us, especially anniversaries.

Last week global Hellenism invited the World to join its celebration of the Bicentennial of the start of the Greek Revolution, and notwithstanding pandemics and lockdowns, the entire World seemed to join us. The blue and white that illuminated monuments everywhere thrilled Hellenes, Philhellenes, and the rest of our fellow citizens alike. Nothing evokes both current contentment and lofty ambitions and hopes for a brighter future – especially during a pandemic – like a bright blue sky decorated with fleecy white clouds. And thanks to dedicated Hellenes everywhere who made the illuminations happen, we sent a powerful message to the World: When you see such glorious skies, think of Greece – and plan to visit us. We’ll be waiting for you.

Colors are symbolic, and so are numbers. Mathematicians can tell us about the uniqueness of numbers, from the mystical series of 1 to 10 revered by Hellenes from at least the time of Pythagoras to the quirky primes that permeate the whole realm of numbers from zero to infinity. Thanks to our personal data, including dates in our lives, especially birthdays, numbers have individuality – but they have another quality even if a particular number doesn’t seem special to us: continuity.

Ethnikos Kirix is now 106 years old. 106 is not one of those magic numbers. In and of itself, it does not say anything to us, but when people hear that on April 2 we celebrated the 106th anniversary of the founding of our newspaper, it gives pause. I have seen the astonishment and admiration in peoples’ eyes now on both sides of the Atlantic when I tell them the paper is more than 100 years old. Few institutions and companies make it to the century mark, but a centennial doesn’t just signal an abstraction. What is brought to mind are people – some nearby, many long gone. All anniversaries are tributes not just to organizations, but to the people who brought them to life, and continue to nurture them with their passion, love, dedication, ideals, and principles.

Oh yes, we also love lists, including lists of names. While it would be wonderful to honor the names of every single man and woman who labored to produce the newspaper from April 2, 1915 until today, that is impossible. But the key names in the history of a newspaper are its publishers. Petros Tatanis founded Ethnikos Kirix and published it until 1933, followed by Euripides Kechagias, Vassos Vlavianos, Babis Marketos, and Eugene T. Rossides through 1978. That year, Antonis H. Diamataris – who is now Advisor to the Publishers, Vanessa and Eraklis Diamataris – began his tenure, guiding the newspaper’s passage into the digital era and establishing this English Edition in 1997.

Such lists remind that the spirit of leaders thoroughly permeate an institution, though the rank and file also leave their imprint, through their direct contributions and by evoking confidence in the leader, who knows he or she can always depend on them, because, in the case of the National Herald, they are motivated by the same love of Hellas, Hellenism, and the Community they all serve.

A great institution is an organism. It has a soul. It is also like a nation, characterized by tribes and dialects. Each publisher contributed to the DNA of the paper: Tatanis the pioneer, each of his successors, the most famous being Rossides the Warrior in Washington, and the Diamataris family, who bridged the era of the printing press and the new realities of the digital era.

And you, our readers, also shaped us. You who are both appreciative and demanding – and we wouldn’t have it any other way because both responses are needed to guarantee the dedication and passion and commitment to excellence that every edition manifests. You are also part of our continuity, and continuity is the essence of life and the heartbeat of institutions. Xronia polla and God be with you and your families, our Community, and our nations, Ellas and America.

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