On Thursday March 22nd, President Obama celebrated Greek Independence Day at the White House, three days early. Newly returned from a two-day tour of the Wild West to discuss his energy policy, the President hosted a reception in the East Room to mark the holiday, welcoming hundreds of guests at 6:55 PM. This year’s event is the 26th celebration at the White House. Above: His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis, the Greek Ambassador to the USA Vassilios Kaskarelis and the Greek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs were among the dignitaries that attended the event.
A national holiday in Greece, March 25th commemorates the nation’s declaration of independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821, after being occupied for 400 years. It also marks the Feast of the Annunciation in the Greek Orthodox Church. Greek Americans will be celebrating in communities across the US this weekend. The Archbishop is a member of the President’s White House Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
The American President referred to the “friendship and co-operation bonds” between the U.S.A. and Greece, stating that the U.S. will continue to stand in solidarity with the Greek people in these troubled economic times. Also, Obama will underline the common values and common ideals that the United States and Greece share.
The menu of the evening included Greek delicacies, such as roasted lamb chops and stuffed grape-leaves, that were enjoyed by the 150 attendees.
Finally, on the occasion of the Greek Independence, President Obama issued the following proclamation:
GREEK INDEPENDENCE DAY: A NATIONAL DAY OF CELEBRATION OF
GREEK AND AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, 2012
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Two hundred and thirty-six years ago, a new American Nation was founded on an old Greek principle — democratic rule by a free people. We trace this enduring idea to ancient Hellas, where Greeks brought forth the world’s first democracy and kindled a philosophical tradition that would stand the test of time. Over two millennia later, the Greek people rose up to reclaim their heritage as citizens of a sovereign nation. Today, on the 191st anniversary of Greece’s independence, we commemorate that struggle to restore democracy in its birthplace, renew the bonds that bring our countries together, and celebrate the Hellenic ideals that continue to shape the American experience.
As America’s Founders built a Government of the people, by the people, and for the people, they drew inspiration from the democratic pioneers who shaped a small group of ancient Greek city states. In the years since, Greece and America have strengthened that connection through shared history and deep partnerships between our people. During the American Civil War, Greek Americans served and fought to preserve our Union. Through two World Wars and a long Cold War, America and Greece stood as allies in the pursuit of peace. And for generations, Greek Americans have profoundly enriched our national life. They stand as leaders in every field and every part of our society, and their cultural legacy still echoes in classrooms, courtrooms, and communities across our Nation.
On Greek Independence Day, we commemorate the proud traditions that tie our nations together and honor all those who trace their lineage to the Hellenic Republic. Nearly 200 years after the Greek people won their war to return democracy to their homeland and become a sovereign state, we reaffirm the warm friendship and solidarity that will guide our work together in the years ahead.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 25, 2012, as Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy. I call upon all the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.