On Saturday June 5, the Cretan Association of Sydney & NSW was honoured to be invited to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base in Richmond for an official visit to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign.
The visit also commemorated the bicentennial of the Greek Revolution of 1821 and the 100th Anniversary of the RAAF.
The performing group danced in front of a Hercules Aircraft, a parachuter aircraft similar to what was used by the German Forces in the Battle of Crete in 1941.
“It was a fantastic day, especially for the children. These children are third generation Cretans so I think the significance of the whole day intertwining with the 80 years of the Battle of Crete and the 200 years of Greek Independence, all tied in and it was indeed a very special moment,” dancing instructor Paul Spanoudakis told GCT.
Iho Nyx Band accompanied the performers with live Cretan Music.
The important and memorable day wouldn’t have been possible without the help of leading air-craftsman Yianni Skoulakis.
“The children, the dancers, they loved it. This has never been done before. First time ever that a Cretan performing group, or even any dance group, has performed on the runway in front of a plane at the RAAF base. I don’t think it’s ever been done before. And with this year being the 80th anniversary [of the Battle of Crete], there has been so many functions and it was a beautiful way to finish off all the commemorative events. They loved it,” Paul Spanoudakis added.
It’s so overwhelming and inspirational to see these children (between the ages of 14-20), so passionate and proud of their cultural identity.
Paul hopes to take this group to Crete (when the borders open) on a dancing tour. “It just really shines a light on the way we preserve our culture, our history and our heritage here in Australia.”