199 years ago, on March 25th, 1821, the Greek Revolutionary Forces raised the standard of the cross and declared that Greece would be free from the Ottoman rule. 400 years of agony, suffering, and enslavement under the yoke of a brutal conqueror was about to end.

Inspired by the classical Hellenic standards of Marathon, Thermopylae, and Salamis, the gallant patriots of 1821 proceeded to show the world that courage was indeed the word of Greek invention and lived their motto of “VICTORY or DEATH” to the fullest.

Greece is the mother country of freedom and knowledge of western culture and democracy, and each of us in the Western World is her child, no matter what our national origin might be.

The Greek War of Independence restored freedom and eventual democracy to the place that gave birth to these concepts.

Battle scene from the Greek War of Independence by Georg Perlberg
Battle scene from the Greek War of Independence by Georg Perlberg

Many Americans contributed their actions and voices to the Greek cause. The Greek-Americans will never forget the names like President James Monroe, President John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and Edward Everett, among others, who so gallantly championed the cause of Greek Freedom in the halls of Congress.

Long Live Hellenism!

Read also: President Donald J. Trump Proclaims March 25, 2018, as Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy

Dear members, sponsors, and friends

We started this year excited to celebrate the 199th year of Greek Independence, commemorating the 2500th Anniversary of the Battle of Thermopylae. In addition to honoring our distinguished dignitaries at the Eleftheria Medal and Dignitaries Banquet on Saturday, March 21, 2020. During the past week, the recent COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has spread into our communities, raising concern for all of us and our families. This afternoon the City of Philadelphia has issued a legal ban on events of more than 1000 people and strongly suggested the postponement of events of 250 or more people. Earlier this week, we had been given communication that the Presidential Guard of Greece will not be participating in any celebrations and will not be able to attend the parade.

In conjunction with the City of Philadelphia’s legal ban, our Executive Board of the Federation of Hellenic American Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley and with the blessings of Metropolitan Evangelos, we regret to inform you that we must cancel the Greek Independence celebrations scheduled between March 21, 2020, and March 29, 2020.

March 17, 2020Parade Meeting Cancelled
March 21, 2020Eleftheria Medal and Dignitaries Banquet Postponed
March 26, 2020Lecture Postponed
March 27, 2020
Indoor Flag Raising Ceremony and Program Cancelled
Outside Flag raising (we will ask City to raise the flag)
March 28, 2020Presidential Guard Educational Program Cancelled
March 29, 2020

199th Greek Independence Day Parade Cancelled
After Parade Reception and Dance Performances Cancelled

While we must temporarily adhere to the Federal, State, and local Government request and do our part in protecting all of us against the Coronavirus, we hope that the problem will be resolved, and this is a short term situation. We are looking forward to doing our best to present a Grand celebration of our 200th Anniversary of Greek Independence in 2021! We will communicate new dates and additional information once it becomes available. Thank you for your understanding and support.

Georgia Halakos

Georgia Chletcos
Vice President