Detroit.- By George Reganis
Detroitʼs annual Greek Independence Day parade took place on Sunday, April 6, 2008. A United Hellenic community celebrated the Greek Independence Day with a doxology at the Annunciation Cathedral followed by the parade and ceremony at the heart of Greektown. For the seven year in a row, the parade set an attendance record, with close to 20,000 marchers and spectators attending from Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario.
The famous Evzone and Amalies group from the Holy City of Mesolonggi, Greece and its Mayor Yannis Athanasopoulos, 14 Greek Orthodox churches, 19 Hellenic organizations, 3 University Hellenic student groups, seven Greek dancing groups in full costume marched in the parade, which was led the by 7 Honorary Grand Marshall recipients of the 1st Hellenic Heritage Awards, Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit, Michigan State Senator John Pappageorge, Representatives Bob Constan and Fran Amos, and other dignitaries.
Participants marched up Monroe Street from Woodward Avenue to the heart of Detroitʼs Greektown. The parade included floats constructed by the University of Michigan Hellenic Students Association, Pan-Cretan Association, Pselorites, Cretan Ladies and Cretan Youth, To the crowds delight the Evzones Group from Mesologgi, Greece lead by its leader Dimitrios Karavasilis, marched in military cadence of Greeceʼs honor guard and the spectators enthusiastically applauded from the reviewing stand as they passed by. Greek hero Alexander the Great lead the Macedonian Society of Michigan. The theme of the parade this year was “Makedonia is Greece”.
After the parade, a ceremony was held at the end of the parade route. Rich Mayk, a longtime Detroit TV personality and parish council member at Assumption of St. Clair Shores, acted as master of ceremonies. The program opened with the singing of the Greek, Canadian, and American national anthems and followed by a short Doxology. Metropolitan Nicholas and the mayor of the Holly city of Mesologgi address the crowd. The Evzone group and the seven other participating dance groups treated the crowd to a fine display of dances from all regions of Greece. The program concluded with a presentation of the flag of the city of Mesologgi to the President of the parade committee Mr. George Reganis and ended by revealing the American flag while a vocalist and the crowed sang god bless American.
The Detroit Greek Independence Day Parade was revived in 2001 after an absence of several decades and is sponsored by the Detroit Greek Independence Day Committee, a non-profit corporation. The committeeʼs web site can be found at http://detroit.greekparades.com.
**** President Detroit Greek Independence Day Committee
**** Photos by Mario Mihas / www.CameraAction.net