THESSALONIKI – The dream of democracy was born in Greece, it was what inspired the founding of the United States and also what united the Greek and American people, U.S. Ambassador to Greece George James Tsunis said in a speech at a reception given by the U.S. General Consulate in Thessaloniki at Anatolia College on Thursday night, to mark the 4th of July Independence Day holiday.
Today, he noted, the two countries were on the front line of the battle between democratic values and tyranny, with a sovereign European state facing an outright invasion. “Our collective response today will determine the future of the world tomorrow,” he added.
Tsunis referred to the values underpinning the American “Declaration of Independence”, such as the dream of equality and the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness for all, as well as the fact that many Americans had joined in the fight for Greece’s independence from Ottoman rule in 1821. The defence of democracy and the protection of democratic values was a “shared promise” and “sacred duty” since that time, he added.
He concluded by referring to the special bonds of friendship between the two countries and his own Greek roots as the child of immigrants to the United States, saying it was an honour to return in order to serve as U.S. ambassador.
The reception was also addressed by U.S. Consul General Elizabeth K. Lee, who said that that the history of Greece and the United States was that of two partners who join forces to become a whole that was greater than the sum of its parts.
The two countries were not only joined by their almost parallel struggle to gain independence and their commitment to democracy but also by a common history, she said, while she referred to the numerous American firms who have invested in Thessaloniki, such as Pfizer, Deloitte, Cisco and AWS.
The event was attended by Deputy Interior Minister (Macedonia and Thrace) Stavros Kalafatis, Central Macedonia governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas, the head of the premier’s office in Thessaloniki and numerous other Greek officials.