WASHINGTON, DC—March 27, 2019
Several members of Congress, Greek Government Officials and community leadership celebrated the 198th anniversary of Greek Independence Day by attending AHI’s “Congressional Salute to Greek Independence Day, praising AHI’s mission and work. —Picture Gallery follow below
Congressional Members (in order of appearance): Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Chris Pappas (D- NH), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Gus Bilirakis, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who is a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations; Reps. John Sarbanes (D-MD), and Frank Pallone (D-NJ). — Excepts of Remark follow below
Greek Government Officials and community leadership: Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the U.S. Marios Lysiotis, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Greece Theodoros Bizakis, and AHEPA Executive Director Basil N. Mossaidis. Each thanked AHI for its work and for hosting the event, emphasized the inspirational struggle for Greek Independence achieved in 1821 and the strong U.S.-Greece relationship that exists today and expressed their strong support for the burgeoning trilateral relationship between Greece, Cyprus and Israel and proper settlement of the Cyprus issue; as well as concern about Turkey’s provocative behavior in the region, and religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
AHI President Nick Larigakis thanked members' ongoing efforts to promote Greek American issues in the U.S. Congress. Larigakis reiterated AHI’s policy that US foreign policy on Turkey must be within the context of Turkey’s acts of aggression in the Mediterranean emphasising that Turkey currently maintains more than 40,000 of its NATO troops illegally on Cyprus making Turkey a continuing source of instability in the region.
During the evening, there was a presentation of traditional Greek dances performed by the Byzantio Greek Dance and Cultural Arts Program under the direction of of Aris and Anna Yortzidis. Sophia Pelekasis sang the American and Greek National Anthems.
The event is held annually in cooperation with the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).