Ochi Day national parades

first_imgGreece marked Ochi Day on October 28 with a national public holidays and major commemorative activities through Greece.The public holiday which commemorates Greece’s decision to defy the Axis powers and join World War II on the side of the Allies saw a major military parade in Thessaloniki and a series of student parades throughout Greece.Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed in his message that the heroism of Greeks in 1940 was still a source of inspiration for younger generations in front of today’s challenges. “Being proud of our past, we believe in ourselves and we are united in a fight for a better future, a strengthened democracy and social justice,” the prime minister said.The military parade in Thessaloniki was attended by the Greek President Karolos Papoulias as well as the Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos and the four nominees for the leadership of New Democracy, Dora Bakoyiannis, Antonis Samaras, Dimitris Avramopoulos and Panayiotis Psomiadis.The Greek Army, the Greek Navy, the Greek Air Force, the Greek Police, the Greek Fire Fighters and the Greek Coast Guard were all represented in the march.In Athens, as in every other municipality of Greece, the day was marked by parades of school children throughout the country. The parade which took place Syntagma Square was attended by Education, Lifelong Learning and Religions Minister Anna Diamantopoulou and had been preceded by a celebratory mass and the laying of wreaths at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier by Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, other local government officials and representatives of the political parties.In statements immediately after the end of the parade in Thessaloniki, the Greek President, Karolos Papoulias referred to the present-day relevance of the messages of that time, the legacy of national resistance and the sacrifices of people that had laid down their lives to defend Greece’s freedom.“The struggle continues today on many levels for the defence of the country and its territorial integrity, for a better future, for better health, for better education, for a new social conscience, a sense of solidarity with the weak and persecuted, for the creation of a country that embraces all of us and especially the young people that live with the dream of a better life,” he said.National Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the day was a reminder that “we must be united, responsible, optimistic and proud,” while stressing that this demanded a nationwide effort.“This is the effort the government is directing and it is in this effort that we invite all Greek men and women to participate, without any kind of political discrimination, in order to make our country stronger, more competitive and better for all of us,” he said.Main opposition New Democracy Parliamentary group secretary Yiannis Tragakis, who represented ND leader Costas Karamanlis, stressed that the “heart of Greece today beat in Macedonia, in Thessaloniki” and underlined ND’s pride in “our armed forces youth”.“Let us all take as our example the sacrifices of the heroes of 1940. Let us today all say no to terrorism, say a big no to corruption and a big yes to democratic processes, a big yes to transparency and a big yes to the unity of Greeks,” he added. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more