Philadelphia, PA – It was a perfect spring day in the city of brotherly love yesterday. Greek Independence day was hosted along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Participation in this historic event included local, national, and international organizations. Representatives from the Republic of Hellas (Greece) government and military, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, folk dance troupes, local Greek Orthodox churches, cultural and educational organizations, all took part at this historic event.

In addition to celebrating the 198th Anniversary of Greek Independence, this year’s parade held special significance. The Federation of Hellenic American Societies of Philadelphia and the Greater Delaware Valley commemorated the 100th Anniversary of the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks. Under the Ottoman Empire, the Greek community of the Black Sea was murdered and expelled from its homeland. Women dressed in black marched along the Parkway in memory of the lost homeland and people of Pontos.

The prestigious Eleftheria Medal (Freedom medal) recipient and Grand Marshal, Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras, Honorary Parade Marshal Kyriakos Mossaides, and local Pontian Society Chapter “Akritai,” led the parade following the ceremony under the flag of Greece which stands along the Parkway.

The afternoon concluded with a dance performance by the Akritai of Philadelphia, which was then followed with a return to St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox church in Upper Darby, where a series of dances and speeches took place for the whole community.