Greek heritage and the Bicentennial of Greek Independence was celebrated on Monday at Boston’s Fenway Park in a ceremony that took place before the Red Sox and Kansas City Royals’ clash.
Greek Heritage Night was organized by the Alpha Omega Council and honored the health care workers and first responders of Greek descent from the Boston area.
Greek-American singer Zoe Behrakis opened the ceremony in front of tens of thousands of spectators by singing the National Anthem.
The Alpha Omega Council, together with the Red Sox, also honored the memory of the late, great Harry Agganis.
Agganis, nicknamed the “Golden Greek,” who after passing up a potential professional football career, played in Major League Baseball as a first baseman from 1954 to 1955 for the Boston Red Sox.
Agganis was born in Massachusetts to Greek immigrant parents in 1929. He first excelled in college football before returning to play baseball near his home. However, his career with the Red Sox was tragically cut short by a fatal illness in 1955.
He died of a pulmonary embolism on June 27 of that year. His sudden death is considered one of the greatest tragedies to hit Boston’s sporting community.
The Alpha Omega Council has one of its core missions to unite Americans of Hellenic ancestry in order to promote and encourage loyalty and patriotism to the United States of America.
Boston the epicenter of Greek heritage
The group was established in 1976 among a group of friends and businessmen in Boston, under the founding leadership of the late Peter Agris, publisher of “The Hellenic Chronicle”, an English-language weekly newspaper serving the Greek-American community in New England and read widely throughout the United States.
Agris served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and later attended Suffolk University and Boston University’s School of Public Communication.
In September 1950, at the age of 24, he founded The Hellenic Chronicle, an English-language weekly newspaper targeting the Greek American community. The newspaper soon gathered a national following, making it the largest Greek-American national weekly newspaper in the United States.
The Alpha Omega Council is comprised of Americans of Hellenic ancestry in Business, Education, Academia, Medicine, Law, Politics, Science and other fields.
Its mission also includes:
- to cultivate the ideals of Hellenism;
- to constantly strive towards maintaining positive Greek-American relations;
- to unite Americans of Greek descent in fellowship and philanthropy;
- to help recognize the achievements of those who excel in their field individually or as a group;
- to help alleviate the wants of the poor and needy;
- and to establish, maintain or aid religious, charitable, scientific, literary or educational activities.
Since its inception, the Alpha Omega Council has contributed over $2,000,000 to various philanthropic causes, not including the annual Peter Agris Memorial Journalism Scholarship Awards.