In a message given to all Greeks through Greek City Times for the bicentennial celebration of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, H.E. Mr. Geoffrey R. Pyatt, Ambassador of the United States, said that the Greek and American revolutions are “uniquely intertwined.”
On behalf of the U.S. Mission in Greece, I’m honored to join Greeks around the world in commemorating the 200th anniversary of Greek independence.
Last week, I previewed “American Philhellenism,” an Embassy-supported, inaugural exhibition at Athens’ new Museum on Philhellenism, which opens later this year.
I pored over original letters sent to philhellenic committees in the United States, read impassioned speeches by U.S. statesmen in support of the Greek cause, and admired portraits of American philhellenes like Edward Everett and Daniel Webster, who I’ve come to know well in recent months.
While looking through the museum’s treasures, I was impressed by the sense of duty and common purpose these early Americans felt in helping Greece reclaim its birthright of democracy.
In this regard, the Greek and American revolutions are uniquely intertwined, inspired by the same ideals of liberty and self-governance and the same deeply ingrained belief in democracy that has shaped our countries’ histories and our steadfast friendship.
As the inheritors of ancient Athenian principles, American philhellenes committed themselves to the Greek cause, igniting one of our nation’s first foreign policy debates.
Young men from across the country traveled to Greece to fight alongside their Greek comrades-in-arms, and American citizens established philhellenic societies to provide humanitarian aid and lobby their elected officials to recognize Greek independence.
This extraordinary bond between our peoples has endured for two centuries.
During that time, our countries have stood shoulder-to-shoulder through unprecedented challenges, even through our democracies’ darkest hours.
Today, the U.S.-Greece relationship is stronger than ever, and our countries are working closely together to promote regional peace, stability, and prosperity.
On March 25, the United States joins the Greek people in commemorating the birth of the modern Greek state, our NATO Ally and strategic partner.
To honor this important milestone and complement the Greece 2021 Committee’s commemorative events, the U.S. Mission in Greece has launched a year-long campaign, “USA & Greece: Celebrating 200 Years of Friendship,” that seeks to honor the bonds between our democracies and chart an agenda for our shared future.
Our programs will include an exhibition at the American School of Classical Studies, a special program of American music performed by the Greek National Opera Orchestra, and an exhibit chronicling the history of the U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki.
We also plan to support commemorations that will take place around the country and will launch a project with The Hellenic Initiative to lift up the talented young entrepreneurs who hold Greece’s future in their hands.
Greece’s bicentennial is an opportunity to build on the progress we have made in recent years to strengthen our alliance.
My exploration of these bicentennial themes has taught me that the philhellenes not only loved and respected Greece, but were committed to the values of freedom, equal opportunity, and equal justice before the law that generations of our citizens have pledged to uphold and defend.
That’s why I am proud to count myself among the distinguished ranks of American philhellenes who have long cherished the cry:
Ζήτω η Ελλάδα!
Ζήτω η Αμερική!