Officers, NCOs, Soldiers, Airmen, Seamen and Civilian personnel of the Armed Forces,
During our long and glorious history, the day of October 28th 1940 has a special place. It is a day of national memory and exaltation for all Greeks, and for these reasons we celebrate it with pride and national unity.
The “NO” said in 1940 incarnates our nation’s collective resistance at its most critical historic moments and brings forth, in the most exciting way, the solid decision taken by the Greek Nation to defend freedom and the supreme values of the civilised world.
Small in numbers, yet great in values, Greece once more set its face against fascism, barbarity and arrogance. It received coordinated fire from two superpowers that openly showed the face of aggressiveness, in the name of claiming lebensraum, and it sank to destruction, misfortune and privation for a long time, yet it survived. The vision of a free and unconquered country did not slip the soul of the Greeks, not for one moment.
Today is a day of glory and honour for all those worthy fighters who, with their heroic struggle, wrote the “Epic of 1940”, glorifying once more the Greek Arms and holding still the flag of freedom and national dignity of our country. This, however, presupposes faith to ideals which our life as Greek people never lacked.
Today, therefore, we honour this self-sacrifice of our ancestors, but most o fall we honour their legacy. And we would not overreact if we said that the Epic of 1940 is an Epic mostly composed by ordinary people.
We honour the spirit of unity because we were united when we achieved all our historical miracles, we were united when we won in 1940 and we must be united at these difficult times for our people and our country.
We honour the faith to liberty and democracy because Greece is identified with such inspired moments for humanity, it is identified with traditions belonging to the entire humanity. Greece is the land of man, it is not the possession of any conqueror.
Such glorious moments of protections of human dignity demonstrate and characterize our country worldwide and they are a fadeless signature of our international identity. Greece never betrayed an ally, no matter how expensive it paid for it. This is why today, with this anniversary, we honour friends and allies. We honour all those people who struggled with us against atrociousness and intolerance. We opened together the way to the big win of our allies, to a win that inaugurated a long peaceful period and set the fundaments of a new bigger Europe.
Greece is still today a reliable and steady ally of liberal forces all over the world, it keeps promoting permanent cooperation with all neighbours for a real European neighbourhood of security and creativity.
As it happened also back then when our country was among the first to oppose, paying an expensive prize, to political immoralism and bloodthirsty military expansionism, thus today when pessimism prevails about the future of Europa, it sees as its duty to cooperate for the revitalization of the loyalty to the European vision, ignoring the dangerous sirens of euroscepticism, populism and nationalism.
And it is of great importance to stand ready and spiritually alert to a worrying Europe we live in, where fascism and nationalism have not stopped to threaten the peoples, hidden behind masks of democracy, progress and allegedly patriotism.
Patriotism means that I love my homeland, but nationalism means I hate somebody else’s homeland.
Men and women of our Armed Forces,
Honour and glory to those who gave their lives for our country not to become smaller. Public praise to all those who serve the Armed Forces, to all you who have dedicated your lives to the service of our country and to fulfilling your duty.
With the willingness to offer and the self-denial you show every day you deserve the respect, the love and confidence of the Greek people.
I want you to know that during the time of my two tenures in the big family of the Armed Forces I felt the support and confidence from all of you, from all ranks of the chain of command and with pride and honour I assure you that I will be at your side, in a collective effort to keep our national defence system at the level imposed by Greek people’s hopes and sacrifices as well as by our national commitment.
And when the moment comes when the difficult times for our country will be overcome, our Armed Forces will stand at the frontline of priorities so that all gap created by the financial circumstances will be filled in.
Our today’s anniversary is an opportunity to regain our confidence, strength and hope, to stand ready and spiritually alert, with a soldier’s psychology before tomorrow’s battle and give back to Greece its perspective, its dignity and vigour it deserves and merits.
Long live October 28th 1940.
Long live the Hellenic Armed forces.
Long live our Nation.