The President of Greece, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, honored Greek American Andreas Holevas, who volunteered to serve as an Evzone, at a ceremony in Athens on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old wrote a unique chapter in the long history of Greek-Americans by obtaining a Greek passport just to have the honor of serving as an Evzone.
On Tuesday, his last day as a Presidential Guard, the President of Greece, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, thanked Holevas for his service in a meeting at the President’s office.
In an interview with Greek Reporter, Holevas stated that wearing the iconic uniform of the Presidential Guards was a “dream,” since his grandfather also served in the role way back in the 1930s.
The Evzones, who stand guard at the Presidential Mansion and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, raise and lower the Greek flag on the Acropolis and march in ceremonial parades, have a deep history in Greece.
Historically, the soldiers were part of an elite infantry unit based in the Greek mountains. They serve as a reminder of the country’s long history and proud fighting tradition.
Holevas’ moving story touched many people both in Greece and the Greek diaspora all around the globe.
His love for Greece and dedication to serving the country of his ancestors inspired Holevas, born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to Greek immigrants, to become an Evzone, and amazed people around the world.
Katerina Sakellaropoulou, the President of Greece, honored the young Greek-American on Tuesday in a meeting in her office and in a moving statement, writing that Holevas, who will complete his Army service on Tuesday, “wore his uniform with pride, and served in the Presidential Guard for nine months.”
“From a young age, (Holevas) listened to stories about his grandfather, who also served as an Evzone in the Royal Guard in 1937. They probably told him about the bravery of the Evzones,” she stated in reference to Holevas’ childhood.
“Certainly,” she said in her remarks, “the 28-year-old Andreas Holevas developed not only the self-evident emotional bond with the country of his ancestry, but also a deep connection with the meaning of ‘homeland.'”
Despite the fact that his service is coming to an end, Holevas declared to Greek Reporter “Once an Evzone, always an Evzone,” and that he only wished that he could serve another nine months as a member of the Presidential Guard.