On July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer part of the British Empire. They declared their independence, and from that day, went forth as a new nation, the United States of America.
Since that day in history, Americans all over the country and abroad have spent the past 245 years celebrating Independence Day on the Fourth of July, commemorating our nation’s adoption of the Declaration of Independence that gave us our freedom.
Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and ceremonies, celebrating the history and traditions of the United States.
I remember the American Bicentennial Year of 1976 fondly. Throughout America, the United States Bicentennial was a series of celebrations and observances celebrating the 200 year anniversary of the birth of our young nation. Especially here in the Delaware Valley, the place I call home, it felt like there was nowhere else in the world that anybody would want to be.
March 25, 2021, marked the 200th anniversary of Greece’s Independence. AHEPA has spent the year celebrating the Greek Bicentennial all over the world and continues to do so. We look forward to bringing the party to our Supreme Convention in Athens, Greece, July 25-31, and continuing it on our travels beyond the convention floor.
You’ve seen Greek-Americans all over the country celebrating the Bicentennial of Greece throughout the entire year, but did you know that Greece played an active role in the American Bicentennial as well?
Recognizing the historical bonds between these two nations founded on Hellenic principles, most notably Democracy, Greece provided America with an American tour of its National Dance Company, – Dora Stratou. The productions “Oedipus at Colonus” and “Never on a Sunday” were performed. In addition, Greek Prime Minister Constantine Caramalis came to Philadelphia to honor the birthplace of democracy in the new world from the nation that gave the world democracy.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America also descended here to Philadelphia for its biennial National Clergy Laity, at the time named the 23rd Biennial Ecclesiastical Congress of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Americas.
Greeks and Greek Americans worldwide helped America celebrate the Bicentennial of its Independence. The AHEPA Family so looks forward to returning the favor to Greece, the light that led the world out of Gothic darkness and inspired our nation and way of thinking.
In the words of Daniel Webster, “It is a debt that can never be repaid.”
As descendants of the founders of democracy, we say, God Bless America!