Upper Darby, PA – One by one, the Greek school students filed into the memorial square, holding white carnations they would later lay at the Pontian monument base. Led by Greek school teacher Vasiliki Tsanaktsidou, one of the organizers of the event, the students stood by as Father of St. Demetrios led them in prayer. On Friday afternoon, following Greek school, the K through 8 students participated in a short ceremony in memory of the Pontian genocide (1916-1923). The event honored and remembered the 353,000 Pontian Greeks that were lost and reaffirmed its support of recognition that is yet to take place by the Unites States of America government.
Parents looked on as the students read a poem. The lament about lost homeland and people also spoke of the traditions and preserving their history. Outside the gated square, students held signs that read “yes it was genocide” and “we will never forget”. Following the reading carnations were laid at the base of the Pontian monument.
This Sunday the 22nd, the Pontian Akritai of Philadelphia, will also host a memorial service that will begin during Liturgy services at St. Demetrios. It will be followed by a reading and service out in front of the Pontian memorial, following church. The general public is invited to attend.