Thessaloniki.- GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA
President Prokopis Pavlopoulos hailed on Saturday the spirit of the “Ochi Day” for Greeks, which commemorates Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas’s rejection of an Italian ultimatum demanding a right of passage through the country on October 28, 1940, saying it serves as a beacon during turbulent times.
“The united ‘No’ with which Greeks responded to the Italian invasion on October 28, 1940, constitutes, forever and especially in today’s turbulent times, the forefront of our nation’s spirit,” Pavlopoulos said after attending the military parade in Thessaloniki. Military units marched in front of the Greek President and the heads of the Armed Forces in central Thessaloniki on Saturday as part of the annual military parade to commemorate the ‘Ochi Day’ on October 28, 2017.
“It is the timeless ‘No’ towards anyone who threatens our borders, our territorial integrity and our national sovereignty. A ‘No’ that automatically transforms itself into a ‘Yes’ for Peace, Democracy, Justice and Fundamental Human rights. Happy Ochi Day!” he added.
The military parade concluded with a show by an F-16 fighter jet, piloted by Squadron Leader Loukas Theoharopoulos, who made impressive maneuvers over the crowd.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Greece honours on October 28 those who chose their country over their lives during the battles of the 1940s after Greece rejected an ultimatum from Italy, signaling the country’s entry into the Second World War.
“Today we honour the epic battles of the ’40s. All those who, asked to choose between Greece and their lives chose Greece. With their fight against fascism and Nazism and the National Resistance, the Greek people proved their love for freedom,” he said in his message for the day.
“Today the country, after a period of darkness, crisis and guardianship, can look into the future with optimism. The people have proven in the last few difficult years that they have the courage, the ability and the historical burden to stand on their own feet during storms. We do not just hope for a better tomorrow. We built it step by step with freedom, solidarity, democracy and social justice. Certain that now, like then, nothing will be given to us for free. Tomorrow is in our own hands,” he added.
The national holiday of October 28, known as “Ochi Day”, signals the belief Greek people have in freedom and their aversion to any form of totalitarianism, New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Saturday.
“Today is a day of memory, emotion and pride for all Greeks. October 28 highlights the unity of our nation. Its loyalty to freedom and its aversion to any form of totalitarianism. Our thoughts today are with the generation of the ’40s,” he said.
“Greece will become strong and proud again. With decisive speech and role for what is happening in Europe and the world. With prosperity, security, and rights for all Greeks. This is the patriotism of our own generation. Happy Ochi Day to all Greek men and women!” he added.