“We celebrate the most important event in modern Greek history and a special milestone in the course of Hellenism,” Greek Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said on the eve of Greek Independence Day.
“It is a landmark that highlights the greatness of the Greek fighting spirit that characterises our Nation over time and make it an example to be imitated by all people,” Panagiotopoulos continued.
His speech was made in the context of Greece celebrating its bicentennial anniversary of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire.
Referring to the officers, non-commissioned officers, soldiers, sailors, national guards, reservists and civilian staff of the Armed Forces, Panagiotopoulos underlined that the liberation struggle began on the day of the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lady.
“We stand in awe and admiration for the heroes of the 1821 Revolution, who rose to their feet and succeeded in defeating a more numerous and powerful adversary, to proclaim freedom for the nation,” said the minister.
“Two hundred years after the Greek Revolution, we are convinced that ‘Freedom or Death’ was not a slogan of despair, but a slogan of conscious choice and attitude towards life.”
He then evoked that Greeks have always fought despite being outnumbered.
“Greeks fight for their principles and values and does so without being intimidated by numerical and material power, which, moreover, never prevented Greeks from winning.”
“Today”, emphasised Panagiotopoulos, “Greece again plays a critical role, both at European and international level, being a pillar of stability, security and peace in the wider region of Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean.”
The minister said Greece is going through a period of “intense geopolitical movement and multilevel security challenges.”
He reiterated that “the Armed Forces are called upon to overcome difficulties and defend the sovereign rights of the country on land, sea and air, throughout Greece and especially in Evros, in the Aegean and in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
“Consistent in our initial planning and the effort we made, we have succeeded in increasing the defense capability and deterrent power of the Armed Forces,” Panagiotopoulos said.
“The country’s armed forces maintain and further improve their extremely high levels of readiness and have the ability to deal with any threat to national security, national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the homeland,” he continued.
The minister emphasised that 1821 “remains timeless, inspires us and at the same time teaches us.”
“Historical memory strengthens hope, is a source of confidence and pride for the modern Armed Forces, which contribute greatly to the emergence of Greece as a pillar of security and stability in the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans,” he said.
“The struggles and the legacy of our ancestors are the beacon that leads our steps. I call on you to continue with the same zeal for fulfillment of your mission, defending the good of freedom for which our ancestors fought and sacrificed 200 years ago,” he added.
Panagiotopoulos concluded: “Glory and honour to the immortal fighters of 1821. Long live Greece. Cheer for the nation. Long live March 25, 1821. Long live the Armed Forces.”