AHEPA NSW honours OXI Day with special commemorative event

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The celebration of 28 Οctober 1940, the day the Hellenic people refused the demands of the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, opened with the recitation of ‘The Ode’ by Mrs Margaret McIInroy, New Zealand representative on the Joint Committee for the Commemoration of the Battle of Crete and The Greek Campaign, and Mr Peter Tsigounis, President, RSL NSW Greek Sub-Branch, in English and Hellenic respectively.

Poems marking the occasion were recited by students of the Afternoon Schools of the Parish of the Transfiguration of Our Saviour, Earlwood Dimitri Dasakis (Year 2), Danny Petratos (Year 6) and Emanuel Kouzoukas (Year 6).

Artist Angela Konstantinopoulou presented her latest work, titled ‘Convergence of Glory’, a tribute to the three battles of Thermopylae, where the Hellenes and their allies refused to kneel to invaders: August 480BCE, April 1821 and together with the Anzacs in April 1941. The painting brings together diverse threads of Hellenic and Australian history into a uniquely Australian Hellenic work of art.

The tribute to the Anzacs of Hellas included original footage of their arrival in Athens in March 1941 and part of an interview with the last living of the 18,000 Australians and 16,500 New Zealanders who served during the Greek Campaign, Arthur Leggett of Perth.

The Youth Address was eloquently delivered by Angelique Belivanis, President, Cretan Youth Association of Sydney and NSW, followed by a musical tribute by Aris Paraskakis on Kretan lyra and Alexander Mountakis (Vice-President, Cretan Youth Association) on laouto.

The event concluded with a performance of traditional dance by the Rallis School of Greek Dance, who presented a Kalamatiano, a Zagorisio and a Kophto, three dances from the Peloponessos and Epiros regions of mainland Hellas.

AHEPA NSW Hall was full of people of all ages, who before and after the formalities, enjoyed the display of photographs and artefacts related to the heroes of 1940 and the Anzacs of Hellas. It has long been a tradition of the organisation that the Hall be decorated to suit the occasion. Everyone agreed that a truly looking forward to the first celebration of National Day at the new home of AHEPA NSW Inc, the Bexley Bowling Club.

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