Philadelphia, PA – Independence Day Honorary Grand Marshall Georgia Athanasopoulos gave a powerful speech that captured Greece’s 200th anniversary and ties to America’s own revolution and war of independence. The speech was part of a day-long series of events that commemorated Greek Independence Day and the bicentennial anniversary in Philadelphia and the Greater Delaware Valley.
The historic day launched at Annunciation/Evangelismos Greek Orthodox Church in Elkins Park, with a Doxology, and marked the 200th Anniversary of Greece’s liberation and the 120th Anniversary of the founding of the Greek Orthodox Community of Philadelphia. This was the first visit to the church by Bishop Apostolos of Medeia, who was presented with a commemorative bowl of the City of Philadelphia that features the signing of the Declaration of independence. The church’s Greek School students marched in carrying the flags of Greece, Cyprus, and the United States. They stood by as the ceremony took place. Federation of Hellenic American Societies, Greek Orthodox Churches of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley, and other organization leaders were also present for the morning.
At 3:00 PM, the celebration moved down to center city Philadelphia, and a flag-raising ceremony at City Hall took place. Federation President Dimitris Rozanitis was presented with a City Proclamation honoring and remembering the 200th anniversary of the Greek War of Independence. The Greek American community attended and looked on with clergy members as Honorary Grand Marshall Georgia Athanasopoulos raised the flag. Members from the Pontian Akritai of Philadelphia were also in attendance in full ethnic attire.
The afternoon concluded with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Philadelphia Art Museum steps where the Charioteer of Delphi replica statue, presented back in 1977 to the Greeks of Philadelphia from the Hellenic Republic.
Throughout the evening and the night before, buildings were lit in blue and white to honor the day, including the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the famed Boathouse Row, and many private skyscrapers.