By Andriana Simos and Argyro Vourdoumpa.
Sydney’s Greek community came out in full force on Sunday for a traditional wreath laying ceremony at the cenotaph in Martin Place to mark Greek Independence Day.
The ceremony kicked off with the Greek and Australian National Anthems, followed by a small memorial service conducted by Archbishop Makarios of Australia.
The Archbishop as well as the President of the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW (GOCNSW) Harry Danalis, then gave small speeches.
In his speech, Archbishop Makarios stressed the relevance of the Greek Revolution today and said Greek Australians are “privileged” to be able to call Greece and Australia home.
“Within the body of a multicultural nation, we continue to share the values of justice and liberty. These principles are as relevant today as they were two centuries ago. This is why we can stand together, remember and honour our ancestors and follow their example,” Archbishop Makarios said.
Mr Danalis spoke next and stressed the importance of Greek Australians coming together every year at Martin Place to honour the memory of the heroes and heroines who fought and lost their lives in the war.
After these speeches, the Last Post and Rouse was played, the Ode was read in Greek and English by NSW Greek RSL members Andrew Kitsos and Peter Tsigounis, and a minute silence was held. A student from the GOCNSW Greek School also recited a poem.
Prominent members of the Greek community, Greek organisations and politicians, later laid wreaths at the Martin Place cenotaph.
These included the Press Counsellor at the Consulate General of Greece in Sydney, Costas Giannakodimos; Matt Thistlethwaite MP; Tony Burke MP; Sophie Cotsis MP; Steve Kamper MP; councillors from Randwick, Bayside, Georges River and Inner West Councils, students from St Spyridon College, All Saints Grammar and St Euphemia College, among many others.
The wreath laying ceremony was concluded with attendees being thanked by the event organisers, followed by a number of youth standing proudly in Greek costumes for photographs.