The annual military parade took place in Thessaloniki in celebration of the national anniversary of October 28 1940, known as OXI Day. It took place on Megalou Alexandrou Avenue in Greece’s second largest city.
The parade impressed Greeks yet again, who either watched it live in Thessaloniki or through live broadcast.
Τhe President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou was among the attendees, as were Defence Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, the Regional Governor of Central Macedonia Apostolos Tzitzikostas, the Mayor of Thessaloniki Konstantinos Zervas, and the Vice-President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas.
Also in attendance was the Greek Military Chief General Konstantinos Floros, the US Ambassador to Greece George Tsunis, and the Metropolitan of Thessaloniki Anthimos.
The parade opened with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Municipality of Thessaloniki and then with the members of the Federation of Disabled and War Victims of Northern Greece – Association “KOMANTOS” 74.
They were then followed by the Association of Descendants of Macedonian Fighters “PAVLOS MELAS,” proudly shouting “Come on Come on Macedonia.” Their march was followed by the Hellenic Red Cross, representatives of cultural associations and students of Thessaloniki schools.
Newly acquired Rafale fighter jets dazzle the public
The newly acquired French-made Rafale fighter jets and the Marder 1A3 armored combat and TTOA M1117 reconnaissance vehicles caught the eye of the public at this year’s OXI Day event in Thessaloniki.
However, it is not only Rafales that flew across the sky of the city. The legendary Spitfire MJ755 aircraft impressed while the parade was accompanied by a demonstration with “Zeus” single aircraft air demonstration team.
A special moment during the Thessaloniki military parade was when the pilot of the aircraft F-16 of the Air Force’s Zeus air demonstration team Christodoulos Giakoumis addressed Greeks in a moving message:
We are and will remain ready to do the same as the generation of 1940. Honor to those who in their lives define and guard Thermopylae. Happy birthday to Greece, Happy birthday to Thessaloniki.
In response to the pilot, Katerina Sakellaropoulou answered:
We honor the heroes who fought and gave their lives in the epic of the 1940s for our freedom. And to all of you in the Armed Forces, the vigilant guards, who ensure our national independence and sovereignty. Your country is grateful. Happy birthday and happy landings.
The F-16 pilot performed a series of spectacular maneuvers that took the more than twenty thousand spectators’ breath away.
Aircrafts of the Hellenic Air Force (including F-16 and F-4 fighters) as well as helicopters of the Hellenic Air Force (Apache, Chinook, Kiowa Warrior, etc.), and of the Navy (Sikorsky S-70) flew over the parade.
Of course, officers of the special forces—marines, commandos, paratroopers—but also the personnel of the 71st Airborne Brigade were not missing.
The Hellenic Police participated with bikes and patrol cars while the Fire Brigade and the Hellenic Coast Guard also participated with parts of the special disaster response unit consisting of climbers, rescuers, and scuba divers. The rescue service and the underwater disaster unit were also present.
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