Deptford, NJThe Eleftheria Grand Banquet, the annual event hosted by the Federation of Hellenic American Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley, was a grand celebration of Greek Independence Day and the strong ties within the Greek community. The highlight of the evening was the recognition of Archon Commander Anthony Limberakis, MD, as the Eleftheria Medal Recipient and Philip Christopher, President of PSEKA, as the Grand Marshal.

The banquet brought together an esteemed array of guests, captivating performances, and heartfelt speeches, all celebrating the Greek community’s vibrant culture and profound unity. Parade co-chairman John Vasiliou welcomed and introduced the esteemed guests and speakers as the curtains rose on the evening’s festivities. Mike Emanuel, Chief Washington Correspondent/anchor of Fox News, hosted the evening as the Master of Ceremonies.

The event was filled with patriotism as Kaliope Pylaras Mousetis delivered stirring renditions of Greek and American national anthems. Dignitaries from the United States and Greece addressed the attendees, emphasizing the deep-rooted bonds and mutual respect between them. Among them were President Nick Larigakis of the American Hellenic Institute, AHEPA Supreme President Savas Tsivicos, Consul General of Cyprus Michael Firillas, Ambassador of Greece to the USA Ekaterini Nassika, the Honorable US Congressman Donald Norcross, and Mayor Ioannis Konstantinos.

The banquet also honored the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Cyprus through a poignant Cypriot dance performance, underscoring the importance of remembrance and unity in the face of adversity.

Special recognition was bestowed upon Georgia Chletcos, the Federation’s President, and Stathis Karadonis for their efforts in facilitating the participation of the Presidential Guard of the Hellenic Republic, highlighting their tireless dedication to promoting Greek heritage and culture.

Co-chairman of the Parade, Honorable Harry Karapalides, Esq., and FHAS, later added his reflections on the enduring values of Hellenism and community. Closing the evening with hope and resilience, His Eminence Metropolitan Apostolos of New Jersey delivered a moving invocation and benediction, reminding attendees of the enduring values of faith, unity, and resilience that define the Greek community.