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Evzones highlight Service of Remembrance for OXI Day in South Australia

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“Your pappou (grandfather) would be really proud of you,” a lady told her young grandson as he was posing next to an Evzone at Adelaide’s War Memorial on Saturday morning, where the Service of Remembrance for ‘OXI’ Day was held. 

And although for some the sight of Members of the Hellenic Presidential Guard marching slowly through Adelaide’s city centre dressed in their ceremonial uniform might have been unusual, for younger Greek Australians who live thousands of kilometres away from their home country, the visit is a way to stay connected with their heritage.

Events like this give us the opportunity to experience the tradition and learn about the history and the sacrifices our ancestors made for us. This is what keeps us going in our everyday life,” Modern Greek Teacher at Prophet Elias Norwood, Pyrros Radimissis, told The Greek Herald.

Hosted by the Foundation for Hellenic Studies with the support of the SA Government, the Service of Remembrance and wreath laying ceremony honoured the heroism of the Greek people who stood in defiance against fascism and highlighted the bonds between Australia and Greece. 

“It is with great humility that I stand by the South Australian War Memorial today to pay my respects to the fallen of the Australian Defence Forces,” said Greece’s Deputy Defence Minister, Nikos Hardalias, who attended the event among many officials, dignitaries and members of the Greek and the wider community. 

“I feel honoured and proud. I feel honoured, because this year I have the chance to commemorate OXI Day, one of the most important Greek national anniversaries, in a country whose gallant soldiers fought side by side with ours in many conflicts including the second World War and proud, because today I see the Members of the Hellenic Presidential Guard, our Evzones, so far away from home standing proudly to honour the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Hardalias.

Representing the Premier, Peter Malinauskas, Energy and Mining Minister Tom Koutsantonis, recounted the historic collaborations between the ANZACs and the Hellenic Army in the course of history and mentioned that relationships created under challenging circumstances are everlasting.

“The first ever time the Evzones honoured any foreign memorial was here in Adelaide in 2017,” he said and thanked the Foundation for Hellenic Studies for their efforts in bringing the Evzones to South Australia and for keeping the values of Hellenism in Australia alive.

On Monday, Adelaide High School and St George College will host special assemblies to honour the Evzones who on Tuesday evening will depart for their first ever visit to Perth.

The names of the Evzones:

Captain Panagiotis Karkatzoulis – Kalamata, Captain Theodoros Mpouromitros – Fthiotida.

Ezvones: Ioannis Argianidis – Ksanthi, Dimitrios Lekkas – Nauplio, Panagiotis Aias Papagiannopoulos – Kalamata, Emmanouil Tasoulis – Athens, Emmanouil Verykokidis – Heraklion Crete, Dimitrios Irinaios Tsirakis – Mykines, Georgios Markos – Athens, Georgios Aristides Goustav Sklavenitis – Lefkada, Konstantinos Polymeros – Atalanti, Gerasimos Zervas – Corfu.

*All photos copyright: The Greek Herald / Argyro Vourdoumpa 

READ MORE: Memorial to mark Greek Revolution bicentenary unveiled in SA in presence of Evzones

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