Today marks 83 years since the 1940 campaign, one of the most illustrious pages of modern Greek history.
By bravely rejecting the brutal ultimatums of the Axis powers, the proud Greek people redefined the word “NO” and made it internationally synonymous with patriotism, dignity and dedication to the universal ideals of freedom and democracy. In that historic “NO” of our ancestors, their voices joined the myriads of people around the globe who refused to cower and courageously withstood the Nazi invasion. Moreover, in that historic “NO”, the people of Greece and Australia united once again, for throughout the centuries they share common values and ideals.
We readily perceive, therefore, what a great legacy our heroic ancestors bequeathed to us. A heritage which, on the one hand, heightens our sense of national pride and, on the other hand, charges us with the responsibility of keeping intact the ideals for which they fought and sacrificed their lives. That being said, today’s anniversary is an occasion for celebration on the one hand, and an opportunity for reflection on the other.
Let’s seize the opportunity to ask ourselves if, with our actions and works, we pay due respect to those who proudly shouted “NO” 83 years ago. Let us also ask ourselves if we are contributing to keep alive the memory of our national campaign among the younger generations, who are the present and the future of our Hellenic nation. And, at the same time, let us not forget to bow down and express our gratitude to our Lady the Theotokos, for her encouragement and protection in all the struggles of our ancestors, including the heroic campaign of 1940.
With these thoughts, I wish many blessed years to all Greek men and women. And, also, many years for our beloved Homeland of Greece!