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Greek Independence Day Marked with Striking Military Parade in Athens

Greek Independence Day parade in Athens
Military parade in Athens marking Greek Independence Day. Credit: Greek Reporter

On Friday, Greece commemorated the 202nd anniversary of the War of Independence, which would see the country freed after almost 400 years of Ottoman rule, with a grand military parade in the capital, Athens.

Thousands of Greeks gathered in Athens for the occasion, which is marked by the military parade every year. The parade commenced at 11:00 sharp at Vasilissis Amalias Avenue and culminated at Omonia Square.

Thousands of military personnel from each of the Hellenic Armed Forces’ three services took part in the parade, as well as civil and military marching bands.  Greek Independence Day coincides with the Feast of the Annunciation, celebrated widely by Greek Orthodox Christians.

Military parade in Athens. Credit: Greek Reporter

Greek Independence Day military parade in Athens

Onlookers lined the streets of central Athens to watch as thousands of soldiers marched by, accompanied by an impressive array of military hardware. For many, the iconic Evzones are an eagerly anticipated highlight of the parade each year.

Among the military vehicles on display were the Marder 1A3 armored infantry fighting vehicles, which Greece received last October from Germany.

However, the Independence Day parade was not only confined to the streets of Athens. Aircraft of the Hellenic Armed Forces flew over the capital to mark the occasion, delighting the celebrants below.

Notable aircraft which could be spotted included Rafale fighter jets, F-16 Fighting Falcons, and Apache attack helicopters.

parade Athens
Credit: Greek Reporter

Message of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis gave a speech to mark the occasion, although his words this year were more solemn because of the tragic train accident which left Greece in mourning late last month.

“This year’s celebration of national independence and the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary is being held in the shadow of a great tragedy. This makes the essential historical reflection even more necessary,” said Mr. Mitsotakis.

He further added that Greek Independence Day functions as a time to reflect on “how we can be inspired by the triumphs of our nation, how we can learn from the tragedies in this long course of continuous progress of the Greek state, the Greek nation, the Greek people”.

The Prime Minister also spoke in praise of “the women and men who marched holding the flag high, emitting a feeling of national pride,” before expressing his views on the importance of the military and a strong national defense.

Commenting on the country’s military resources, Mr. Mitsotakis said that they are “absolutely necessary to preserve our national independence, which is a condition for social progress and social cohesion. Happy birthday to all Greek women and men.”

Marder 1A3
Marder 1A3 IFV. Credit: Greek Reporter

Statement of President Katerina Sakellaropoulou

The President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou also said a few words to mark Greek Independence Day after the parade concluded.

“March 25, 1821 is a milestone for Hellenism. Historical starting point of a difficult and long struggle for freedom and independence, after four hundred years of Turkish yoke, a day of national rebirth and upliftment,” she said.

“With today’s brilliant parade we honor the memory of our heroic ancestors and reflect on our responsibility towards history. It is our duty, with sympathy and like-mindedness, to show ourselves worthy of their sacrifices,” the President added.

Greek Independence Day Parade. Credit: Greek Reporter

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