American Hellenic Institute (AHI) President Nick Larigakis has issued the following statement in celebration of the 201st Anniversary of the Greek War of Independence:
Today we commemorate the 201 st anniversary of Greece’s Independence and remember the heroes who fought and sacrificed to defeat Ottoman rule in a triumph for liberty. We also rejoice in being able to return to traditional inperson large celebrations of Greek Independence such as parades and gatherings in our community halls as we find ourselves returning to a sense of normalcy. Congratulations to the communities that have already held parades, and we look forward to more celebratory events to come.
Ancient Greece gave birth to the ideals and principles that are the foundation of western democracies. As such, all Americans share in the Hellenic spirit which is embedded in the DNA of our constitution and at the core of our cherished liberties. As Americans of Greek heritage, we take special pride in the success of our great nation knowing that these Hellenic principles have provided the basis for the unprecedented prosperity of our country.
The American Revolution was inspired by the same ideals of the Enlightenment which inspired the Greek War of Independence. The American people manifested their adherence to these ideals through their ardent vocal and humanitarian support for the Greek cause. Today, we must also look to the future and ensure the friendship and strategic partnership between the United States and Greece, two longstanding allies, remains strong and continues to flourish.
The celebration of Greek independence is an important reminder for free citizens around the world: the Hellenic ideals that yielded democracy, and the rule of law, must be defended, as we see brave Ukrainians doing against an unjust invasion by Russia, or else we can expect the slow erosion of the very principles that provide the underpinning of our society. Only anarchy would exist without the rule of law.
Despite the heroic sacrifices and battles our ancestors have fought, the struggle continues. We must not lose sight of the danger Turkey presents in the Eastern Mediterranean and to United States interests in the region. The community must engage our policymakers, educate them on these facts, and urge them to act. We look forward to celebrating future Greek Independence Days in a world free from threats to democracy and the rule of law and amid an Eastern Mediterranean region that is stable and at peace.