Thousands were expected to march yesterday on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. On Friday, April 4, the White House ceremony.
New York.- Hellenes around the United States celebrated last week the Greek Struggle for independence in 1821 with parades and other events in all major cities. In New York City the Greek Parade took place yesterday, with thousand marching on Manhattan’s 5th Avenue. This year’s masters of ceremonies were US Senator Charles Schumer and US Ambassador designate to Norway, George Tsounis.
President Barack Obama will honor Greece’s Independence Day anniversary (with a special event to be held at the White House on Friday, April 4 at 4:30 p.m. Apart from President Obama, the ceremony is expected to be addressed, as every year, by Archbishop of America Demetrios on behalf of the Greek American community.
The anniversary of Greek Independence will also be honoured on April 3 by New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio, with an annually-held reception at the Gracie Mansion.
Greek government was represented at the parade and the doxology at the Holy Trinity Church in Manhattan, as well as at other events, by Deputy Foreign Minister, responsible for the Greeks Abroad, Akis Gerontopoulos. After the conclusion of his visit to Australia, the deputy Foreign minister arrived to the United States for a four-day visit, starting from Chicago, where he attended national anniversary celebrations. He also held a series of contacts with officials and representatives of Greek American Community.
President Obama signed a proclamation, declaring March 25th Greek Independence Day, a day of celebration of Greek and American Democracy.
The proclamation states:
“Almost two centuries ago, the people of Greece laid claim to their independence and began a long struggle to restore democracy to its birthplace. Greek Americans crossed oceans to fight for the freedom of their ancestral homeland, and through two World Wars and a Cold War, Greece and the United States stood side-by-side. On Greek Independence Day, we honor the deep connections between our two nations and celebrate the democratic ideals at the heart of our shared history.
America’s form of government owes much to the small group of Greek city-states that pioneered democracy thousands of years ago. Just as Hellenic principles guided our Founders, Greek antiquity has inspired generations, from writers and activists to architects and inventors. Greek Americans have contributed as leaders of culture, community, business, and government. Through the generations, they have helped shape our enduring democracy — a Nation that accepts our obligations to one another and understands that we must rise and fall as one.
Greece is a valued NATO ally, and our friendship remains as strong as ever. As Greece takes tough action to rebuild its economy and bring relief to the Greek people, the United States offers our continued support. Today, let us reaffirm a bond that extends beyond government, connects our peoples, and inspires all who strive to choose their own destiny.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 25, 2014, as Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.
NEW YORK PARADE
New York’s annual largest Greek event celebrating Hellenic history and heritage, the 193rd Greek Independence Day Parade, took place on Sunday, March 30 at 1.30 pm. 108 Greek organizations (schools, federations, societies, communities, associations, student organizations), as well as dozens of floats and bands winded their way to from 63rd to 79th streets.
The Greek Independence Day Parade is a strong tradition, representing the largest gathering of Greek-Americans outside Greece. Since 1938, the parade attracts over 100,000 spectators with approximately 25,000 participants. It is a day of remembrance, pride and inspiration for the Greek-American Community for it honors the shared values between Greece and America, – the supreme good of Freedom, which emanates from and is deeply rooted in Ancient Greece. “The common struggles of Hellas and the United States for Independence, Freedom, Democracy, Respect for Human Dignity, Social Justice, and for Self-determination by the American and Greek Revolutions constitute the foundation of our nations’ common heritage”, says the Chairman of the Parade Petros Galatoulas.
“The Hellenic Humanistic Ideals and Values, an antidote to the multifaceted global crisis” “This year’s parade is dedicated to the eternal Hellenic values and ideals”, notes the President of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, Mr. Elias Tsekerides. It is now evident to all of us that in recent years, the Western civilization has entered a period of a growing economic, political, social, ecological, and in particular cultural crisis that gradually weakens the structures of our global society. As the world’s most influential thinkers and historians have pointed out, the foundation of a new paradigm and a new democratic culture can arise only through one system of thought, the one that originated in Pre-Socratic intellect. The Pre-Socratic profound thought is humanity’s depository of creative ethos and wisdom. It is a system of values consistently renewed and adapted to the circumstances of each era for peaceful and harmonic coexistence of humans and nature”, continued Mr. Tsekerides.
“40 years of Occupation and Division of Cyprus – No More!”.
“This coming July 2014 the Hellenic American Community will be commemorating the 40th anniversary of the brutal tragic invasion of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey. As Philip Christopher, member of the Parade Committee and President of the International Coordinating Committee – ‘Justice for Cyprus’ notes: “As we celebrate the 193rd anniversary of Greek Independence after 400 years of occupation by the Ottoman Empire, we are all reminded that 38% of the small island Republic of Cyprus has been under occupation for 40 long years. It is unbelievable that the International Community has remained silent to the greatest injustice in modern history. Turkey, on the pretext of protecting a small Turkish minority, invaded the island in 1974, expelled 200.000 Greek Cypriots from their homes, destroyed 500 historical Christian churches and changed the demographics by importing 500.000 colonists from Turkey. The spirit of 1821 lives in the hearts of the Greek Cypriot people who are fighting to remove 43.000 Turkish troops and return to their ancestral homes.”
The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York is a not-for-profit organization that comprises over 200 civic, cultural and religious organizations in the greater New York City area. Established in 1938 and representing societies from over 100 regions in Greece, its mission is to preserve and promote Hellenic culture and heritage throughout the five boroughs of New York through cultural events and programs, including the organization of the Annual Greek Independence Day parade in New York City.
The Greek Independence Day Parade has become a New York City traditional event and is a great day out for everyone, Greek or non-Greek. It is a time to celebrate and participate in Hellenic Heritage and Culture!
The Grand Marshals
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has been honored for his distinguished service to the United Stated and the Great State of New York. He is a close friend of the Greek American Community and a strong voice against human rights violations in Cyprus and all over the world.
Senator Charles Schumer was a key architect and supporter of the major reform immigration bill and played a crucial role for the inclusion of a measure allowing Greek and Cypriot nationals – among other nationalities – to find work in the United States providing Greek language instruction and assistance to local Greek communities.
U.S. Ambassador Designate to Norway, George Tsunis is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chartwell Hotels, LLC. He is a prominent and active member of the Greek American Community, an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and a philanthropist with numerous contributions to various charities, institutions and organizations.