"The Greek Armed Forces, since the establishment of the Greek State, have the highest operational capabilities. We have never been so strong and with such prospects," underlined the chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff (GEETHA), General Konstantinos Floros.
The GEETHA leader, speaking last night at the Armed Forces Day event, also mentioned that "the personnel of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Special Operations Forces, who today have their due, are guarding with a steel fist like a iron fist, guarding our Motherland from one end to the other."
General Floros' speech in detail:
"Ladies and gentlemen,
"It is my great pleasure and my special honour to welcome you tonight to the event of the General Staff of National Defence for the Day of the Feast of the Armed Forces of the Country, which this year, and this is not widely known, also completes 200 years of their modern history after the start of the struggle for our National Independence in 1821, as in April 1822 the Law entitled, "On the Organisation of the Army" was passed by the "Parliament" and the first institutional text by which the establishment of a Regular Army in Modern Greece was established.
"During these 200 exciting but also stormy years, the Greek Armed Forces starred in all, without exception, the bloody but at the same time brilliant struggles of the Nation, which brought the modern Greek State to the form it has today, starting from a poor corner of the Balkan Peninsula.
"Apart from those terrible struggles of our national independence which were the cradle of the rebaptism and resurrection of the Greeks, all over the Earth, after 400 difficult and dark years of dishonourable national life, after 400 years of slavery, fear and despair, which brought the Light again in Greece and Greece in the Light of the World, that is, in the Light that it sowed first in Europe and in all of Humanity, good and bad times followed.
"I highlight the hasty and unprepared 1897, which was followed by the bold but magnificent Macedonian War.
"Our victorious and trophy-winning participation, our catalytic participation in the Balkan Wars in which tons of Greek blood was spilled and then the Great War, the First World War, at the end of which Greece chased the national dream on the opposite side of the Aegean, in Ionia and the rest of Asia Minor, in the grandiose Asia Minor Campaign as we all know and call it, which proved to be unfortunate and bitter, since the end of which this year has been 100 years, and this is an opportunity for reflection and study of what went wrong.
"The interwar respite led the Hellenic Armies to the Second World War, a truly epic and globally dazzling war action where the Hellenic Armed Forces won the 1st victory over the Axis powers, crushing ideologies and revisionisms, and thus animating the combatant even then free world, winning against any number, prediction or probability. Because that's how we are. Always few. Then and now.
"Then they found themselves in Korea, with the Hellenic Expeditionary Force, surprising once again with their bravery and fortitude, and of course the indomitable Greek soul was constantly fighting and dying in the martyred Cyprus for most of the previous century.
"However, these two hundred years cannot and should not be seen as detached from the unique and blinding Greek martial tradition that starts from the depths of the centuries, from the cracks of the History of Humanity.
"Even from mythology... A tradition sung by Homer in his Iliad and Odyssey, a tradition that gave birth to Marathon and Thermopylae, a tradition that crushed the arrogant revisionists of that time in Salamis and Plataea, and arrived punishingly as Nemesis with Alexander the Great to the Indus River and the Nile, a tradition which kept the Byzantine Empire afloat for over a millennium and which finally erupted with such force in 1821, leading to the birth of the modern Hellenic State, as I foretold in my rather lengthy introduction.
"So to today... Today, the Hellenic Armed Forces have the highest operational capabilities since the establishment of the Greek State. We have never been so strong and with such prospects.
"They successfully carry out their mission, which is to ensure national defense, i.e. safeguarding national independence, defending the territorial integrity of Greece and protecting Greek citizens to an absolute extent against any external threat or attack.
"At the same time, however, without making any discount at all on their main mission, they willingly put their personnel and resources at the service of Greek society, assisting the rest of the state apparatus literally wherever, whenever and for whatever is required.
"It's everywhere. On land, sea and air. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
"In the consciousness of Greek society, the Armed Forces have always been a coherent, strong, capable and worthy institution. And that is exactly what our Armed Forces are.
"I know it and I state it unequivocally after a word of knowledge: It is an institution that stands out for its organisation and discipline, its traditions and its values, its hierarchical structure and operation, its constant readiness and vigilance, its hard training his staff.
"Of a truly special, unique and valuable personnel, who despite the peculiarities and difficulties that are intertwined with the military function, serves our Motherland faithfully, humbly but with pride and honour and performs his duty with perseverance and unique dedication.
"Absolute devotion to the Motherland!
"So tonight's event is dedicated to this wonderful and unique staff, to the men and women of our Armed Forces, whom I have the greatest honour to lead and thank you, thank you, all of us, all of you who honour us with your presence your.
"So today we celebrate as a whole, as a single and inseparable multi-branch family, regardless of origin, rank and Branch. The entire large Armed Forces family is celebrating.
"And I would like to emphasise at this point for the umpteenth time that these personnel of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Special Operations Forces, who today have their due, are guarding with a steel fist like an iron fist, vigilant our Homeland from one end to the other and makes Greeks feel safe, confident and proud.
"I also want to underline that the Greek Armed Forces are not limited within the walls of the Greek territory, in order to strengthen national defense and security.
"As part of our international obligations but also bilaterally with friends, allies and partners, our Armed Forces are located in Cyprus, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Mozambique and Mali and carry out their mission in accordance with International Law and UN Resolutions and for this reason their credibility, prestige and special weight are greater than ever.
"But I won't go on any longer, at the expense of the excellent ones that follow.
"I want to warmly thank all those who worked tirelessly to organize and implement this event, which - note - has no precedent, it is the first time this year that Armed Forces Day has been framed by such a closing celebration event at the end of the anniversary day, but it will have continuity worthy of our Armed Forces and will be done every year from now on.
"I would especially like to thank from the bottom of my heart all those who willingly and happily accepted to participate in it and brighten it with their gift and talent.
"The singer Mr. Gerasimos Andreatos, the actor Mr. Grigoris Valtinos, our tenor EPOP Sailor Andreas Karaoulis, our young amazing and unique pianist Stelios Kerasidis, our conductor Musician Alexandros Litsardopoulos and our interdisciplinary orchestra, the singer Ms. Anastasia Moutsatsou, the soprano Mrs. Evdokia Moisidou, Mrs. Iulia Tzanetoulakou and the children of the CON-ANIMA choir, the journalist Mrs. Vicky Flessa and the sculptor Mr. Nikos Floros, who as a whole and each individually honor the Armed Forces and their contribution to Greece and its unique people.
"I also thank the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, its President Mr. Andreas Drakopoulos as well as the Advisor to the Board of Directors Ambassador Mr. Ioannis Kaskarelis for the kind concession of this excellent and unique space that hosts us today, as well as all the staff of the Foundation who as in any way we gathered at today's event, as well as the Management and staff of ERT, the director Mr. Spyros Daglis and the Director of Production Mrs. Alexandra Kourtis for their decisive contribution to the direction and production of today's event, which, it should be noted, is broadcast live and thus every Greek man and woman can watch it via live streaming.
"I also want to warmly thank Mrs. Irini Katsotourchi, our Mrs. Rinio of Kinaros, who is here today with us in order to award her. Mrs. Reinio, we are all very excited to have you with us. We are honoured by your presence!
"Finally, I warmly, warmly thank all of you who today do us the extraordinary and unique honour of being present here near and beside us, celebrating with us this very important day for the Greek Armed Forces. Our celebration! I wish you enjoy a truly special, I hope, evening with us.
"Thank you very much!"