A crowd of about 100,000 Greek Americans waving Greek flags marched on Sunday, April 26, 2009 at the annual Greek Independence Day parade in Manhattan, under clear skies and temperature of low 90ʼs.
Greek National Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Greek American singer Tony Orlando were the Grand Marshals.
New York City Mayor Micael Bloomber, NY Senator Charles Schumer, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney NYC Comptroller Thompson, NYS Assemblyman Michael Giannaris and NYS Senate minority leader Dean Skelos were among the dignitaries that showed up.
Greek Defense Minister Meimarakis addressed a message of unity and love from Greece at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Aghia Triada.
“We must all make a joint effort to achieve our goals, serving the values, the principles and visions that united us and which are universal,” he said after a Sunday mass led by Archbishop of America Demetrius.
“We honour the memory of all those that gave their lives for the principles and values of freedom, so that Greece can exist today and spread this message to all the world,” he added, stressing that Greeks abroad had a predominant role in this effort. Meimarakis will represent the Greek government and be among the grand marshals of the Greek Independence Day parade on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, which celebrates the March 25 Independence Day holiday in Greece.
The mass was followed by a reception at a New York hotel, followed by the parade that will be attended by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and several city and state officials.
In an event on Saturday night, meanwhile, Meimarakis was presented with the “1821 Hellenic Independence Award” by the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater NY.