WASHINGTON, DC - Supreme President Carl R. Hollister issued the following statement on the 77th anniversary of "Oxi Day" when Greece issued a defiant "No" to fascism as represented by the Axis powers, opting instead to say "Yes" to freedom on October 28, 1940.
The Greeks successfully fought the Italian army, pushing the invaders back into Albania after one week. It would prove to be a costly military campaign for the Axis powers.
"On this day, 77 years ago, the citizens of Greece took a courageous stand against tyranny and fascism and fought heroically to defend their autonomy," Hollister said.
"President Franklin D. Roosevelt, an AHEPA member of Delphi Chapter 25 since 1932, took note of the Greeks' gutsy defense of their beloved homeland against the Italians, and eventually the Germans, when he told the AHEPA Supreme Lodge in an April 25, 1941 meeting: 'The heroic struggle of the Greek people to defend their liberties and their homes against the aggression of Germany after they had so signally defeated the Italian attempt at invasion has stirred the hearts and aroused the sympathy of the whole American people.'
"Today, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, of which many of its members, and members of its Junior Order, the Sons of Pericles, fought heroically behind enemy lines in Greece during World War II, commemorates the 77th anniversary of 'Oxi Day.' It is a day to celebrate freedom, justice, liberty, and the passion of the Hellenic spirit.
"Please take a moment to pause and reflect on this remarkable moment in our Hellenic history."
Founded in 1922 in Atlanta, Georgia, on the principles that undergirded its fight for civil rights and against discrimination, bigotry, and hatred felt at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, AHEPA is the largest and oldest grassroots association of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes with more than 400 chapters across the United States, Canada, and Europe.
AHEPA's mission is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of Education, Philanthropy, Civic Responsibility, and Family and Individual Excellence through community service and volunteerism.
For more information, please visit www.ahepa.org.