Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY) Honors Hellenic Americans on the Occasion of the 179th Anniversary of Greece's Independence Day

Mar 27, 2000
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC -- Thursday, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) submitted remarks into the Congressional Record honoring Greek Independence Day and the Greek Independence Day Parade in New York City on Saturday. Her remarks are attached.

Representative Maloney is the co-founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues. The caucus, made up of 72 bipartisan House Members, has had a major influence on legislative and diplomatic initiatives concerning Greece, Cyprus and Turkey.

Remarks:

HON. CAROLYN B. MALONEY OF NEW YORK IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Mr. Speaker, it is with profound pleasure that I speak today in honor of the 179th Anniversary that marks Greece's declaration of independence from the Ottoman Empire. Greece had remained under the Ottoman Empire for almost 400 years. Even though they were deprived of all of their civil rights during this time they continued to educate their children in their culture, their language, and their religion under the threat of death. On March 25, we celebrate this courage on the 179th Anniversary of freedom and independence in Greece.

I wish we had more to celebrate - to be able to celebrate on Greek Independence Day the return of the Elgin Marbles to their homeland. Taken from Greece in 1806, these ancient sculptures from the Acropolis of Athens have been on view in the British Museum. In this age of open communication, friendship, and a unified Europe, lets hope that these marbles will soon be returned to their home.

This year the Greek Independence Day parade will be honoring His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America. I join with my Hellenic neighbors in honoring him on the auspicious occasion of the Greek Independence Day Parade.

I am very fortunate and privileged to represent the largest Hellenic community outside of Athens, one of the most vibrant communities of Hellenic Americans in this country. It is truly one of my greatest pleasures as a Member of Congress to be able to participate in the life of this community, and the wonderful and vital Hellenic American friends that I have come to know are one of its greatest rewards.

While commemorative resolutions are no longer allowed in the House, there is enormous support for Greek Independence Day among my colleagues. In 1993, inspired by the strong Hellenic American presence in my own congressional district, I co-founded, and now Co-Chair, the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues. The Caucus is composed of seventy-two, bipartisan members who are committed to bringing the voices of Hellenic Americans to the floor of the U.S. Capitol. Since its beginning in 1993, the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues has grown in both size and strength to foster and improve relations between the United States and Greece. The Hellenic Caucus serves to strengthen the voice of Hellenic Americans in promoting legislation, monitoring and arranging briefings on current events, and disseminating information to all Congressional Members on such important developments as the renewed talks between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, U.S. aid to Greece and Cyprus, and the continued conflict in the Aegean.

In the coming year, may we see peace in the Aegean, justice in Cyprus, peace in Northern Greece, and the restoration of human rights to the many cultures and people suffering throughout the world. As we celebrate the 179th anniversary of Greek Independence and the special bond of friendship between our two countries, and I would like to leave you with a quote from Percy Shelley, "We are all Greeks! Our laws, our literature, our art, have their roots in Greece."

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