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Military Parade in Athens Marks Greek Independence Day

Parade Greek Independence Day
Thousands of military personnel from each of the Hellenic Armed Forces’ three services took part in the parade. File photo. Credit: Greek Reporter

On Monday, Greece commemorated the 203rd anniversary of the War of Independence 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.

Military personnel and hardware at the parade on Greek Independence Day

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.

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.

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

The day started with a special ceremony at Athens Metropolitan Cathedral that was attended by Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and, representing the government, Defense Minister Nikos Dendias, among other officials.

Cannon shots were also fired from Lycabettus Hill and fighter jets were conducting flights over the Acropolis to mark the occasion.

In Thessaloniki, too, multiple downtown schools will converge in the city center for a big parade along Megalou Alexandrou Avenue starting at 12.15 p.m.

Contingents of the Armed Forces will also be holding displays in the northern port city.

President’s message on Greek Independence Day

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. The anniversary also calls for its timeless message, “that passion and self-denial may be the key ingredient of 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,” she said.

Sakellaropoulou also noted that this year is the 50th anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Greece following the military dictatorship, while she also said that Greece is not forgetting Cyprus, as a part remains under Turkish occupation.

In a world of multiple speeds and uncertainties, continuous crisis, wars, and divisive speech, the Greek president added, 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 history, as we did our unnegotiable national sovereignty.”

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