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Greek Students From Athens to Sydney Celebrate Independence Day

Student Parade Greece
1,500 school students paraded at Athens’ Syntagma Square on the eve of Greek Independence Day on Sunday. Credit: AMNA

1,500 school students paraded before officials at Athens’ Syntagma Square on the eve of Greek Independence Day on Sunday in honor of the Greek War for Independence.

229 schools from Athens, from primary to secondary education, took part in this year’s celebratory event. Leading the parade were the high school students of Kalavryta, wearing traditional costumes and carrying a banner of the Greek Revolution.

The students’ parade was joined by the City of Athens Philharmonic Orchestra and music bands of the Hellenic Police, Hellenic Air Force, and the Fire Brigade.

Officials in attendance included Education Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis and Athens Mayor Charis Doukas, who laid wreaths at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier before the parade.

Minister Pierrakakis commented that the historical day “teaches us how our country and our people can achieve miracles through faith, boldness, and fortitude.”

Athens’ Mayor Doukas cited a Greek Independence fighter Makrygiannis’s memoirs that spoke of serving ‘the We, not the Me,’ for a brighter future with justice and the protection of human rights.

A celebration for all Greeks

Greek Independence Day parade, Athens, 2024.
Greek Independence Day parade, Athens, 2024. Credit: AMNA

A students’ parade attended by hundreds of citizens also took place on Sunday in Thessaloniki.

In faraway Sydney, Greek-Australians celebrated Greek Independence Day with a parade for the first time since the breakout of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Parades in US cities are scheduled for Monday, March 25.

50th anniversary of the restoration of democracy

The anniversary of Greece’s historic declaration of war for independence on March 25 is a celebration of all Greeks that will always draw up a sense of liberation, independence, and justice, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said in a message on Sunday.

“The Greek uprising against the 400-year Ottoman rule in 1821 garnered the admiration of the world,” she said, stressing that the anniversary also calls for its timeless message, that “passion and self-denial may be the yeast for every national effort, but the guarantee of its success lies with consensus, unity, and agreement, as recorded by the herculean struggle of the heroic revolutionaries against an all-powerful empire”.

President Sakellaropoulou noted that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Greece after the military dictatorship. During this period, Greece became a member of, and established its presence in the European Union, confirming its position among its partners and allies and being a guarantor of security and peace in the eastern Mediterranean and the wider region.

Greece is not forgetting Cyprus, as a part remains under Turkish occupation, she added.

In a world of multiple speeds and uncertainties, consecutive crises, wars, and an environment of divisive speech, where intolerance and totalitarianisms are on the rise, Greece’s challenge today is “to defend, with the contribution of all of us, the ideals of freedom, human rights and democracy, which we secured with struggles and sacrifices in our long existence, as we did our unnegotiable national sovereignty,” the Greek president concluded.

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