New York.- By Catherine Tsounis
Photos: GANP/Dimitrios Panagos
The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes.- Aristotle
The Greek Middle Class turned out in thousands to show “they want to keep the Greek Parade on 5th Avenue, New York City,” Sunday, April 14th, at the 198th Anniversary of Greek Independence. The Greeks Overseas showed their strength in promoting Greek sovereignty in the face of the Macedonian, Aegean and Cyprus issues. Churches, Political representatives, Fraternal and Island societies, AHEPA and chapters, NYC and New Jersey public schools and university Greek clubs came out in full force. Youth from babies in carriages to young adults flooded the streets. High temperatures contributed to the success of the event.
The 2019 Parade Grand Marshal was George M. Marcus (Moutsanas), a national businessman. The event was organized by the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York under the leadership of CLEANTHIS MAIMAROGLOU President, PETROS GALATOULAS First Vice President, DIONYSIOS PILARINOS First Secretary, ATHANASIOS ARONIS Treasurer, Executive Board, and members. For more complete information, visit http://hellenicsocieties.org/our-leadership.html.
The New York City Police Department Mounted Color Guard opened the parade Every Greek society in law enforcement and Fire Department led the parade. The NYPD police were present everywhere, making sure all ran smoothly. The Evzones, presidential guard of the Republic of Greece, was an inspiration to all. The Pan Arcadian Federation youth from the entire United States travelled to show their support of “Greek Pride”.
2019 PARADE HONORARY MARSHALS: DR. ELENI THEOCHAROUS MEMBER OF EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, CYPRUS FOTIS FOTIOU REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CYPRUS GOVERNMENT JOHN MOURMOURAS DEPUTY GOVERNOR OF BANK OF GREECE ANTHI KATSIFAS HONORARY PARADE CHAIRMAN: HIS EMINENCE ARCHBISHOP DEMETRIOS PRIMATE OF THE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH OF AMERICA PARADE CHAIRMEN EMERITUS: JOHN CATSIMATIDIS PHILIP CHRISTOPHER PARADE CHAIRMAN: PETROS GALATOULAS PARADE CO-CHAIRMAN: DR. GEORGE J. TSIOULIAS PARADE COORDINATOR: ATHANASIOS ARONIS DIONYSIOS PILARINOS PARADE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: GEORGEA KONTZAMANIS; PARADE ANNOUNCERS: ANTHOULA KATSIMATIDES, DIMITRIS FILIPPIDIS, THANASIS TZOUVELIS
Modern Greece became free because of the self-sacrifice of the Greek soldiers, civilian population and most importantly the PHIL-HELLENES OF Europe. “Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi”, by Eugene Delacroix was the single Art reason exciting Europe to push for the Freedom of Greece in 1821 from the Ottoman Empire. Lord Gordon Byron’s death at Missolonghi shocked Europe. “Philhellenes took the Hellenists’ idealized portrait of Greece. This portrait associated ancient Greece with the ideals of freedom and democracy. This vision was transformed into a call for the liberation of Greece from the Ottoman Empire. Philhellenism finally became a political movement, designed to bring pressure on the superpowers of the time to free the country that was the foundation of European values from eastern despot. The tremendously successful April 14th NYC Greek Parade made a statement to the Phil-Hellenes of the Global community: the Greeks Overseas, especially the youth, are committed to the Greek sovereignty of the Aegean islands, Crete, Cyprus and MACEDONIA.
The Prespa Agreement and anti-Greek internet propaganda and Macedonia’s future was behind everyone’s mind. There were forgotten heroes from Macedonia who fought for the freedom of all Greece. Makedonomachoi (Macedonian fighters) were Athanasios Stavroudis and his partner Stavros Baretis who freed Samos from Turkish rule in March 1912. In 1912, Themistocles Sophoulis, Samos freedom fighter, contacted Athens to ask for help because the situation in Samos had taken a dangerous turn. The island’s Ottoman ruler, Andreas Kopasis, had installed an Ottoman garrison on the island.