Greek military jets and helicopters performed flybys over Athens and other Greek cities, towns and islands on Wednesday to mark Greece’s national holiday.
Known as OXI Day, or “No Day,” the October 28 holiday commemorates the day in 1940 when Greece rejected an ultimatum from fascist Italy to allow Axis troops to enter the country and occupy strategic locations. The refusal marked Greece’s entry into World War II on the Allied side.
On Wednesday, an F-16 of the Greek Air Force flew through the skies in Thessaloniki with the pilot giving a powerful patriotic message.
“Greeks, from Orestiada to Gavdos and from Othonoi to Kastellorizo, remember that the most laconic and resounding message in world history consists of two syllables: OXI,” the pilot can be heard saying as he completes his fly-by.
“A message that reminds everyone that democracy and freedom are ideals that will triumph as long as there are immortal Greek souls. Souls bold beyond their strengths, adventurous in their knowledge and optimistic despite difficulties. Happy National Day Greece.”
Greek flag flies over Athens:
While traditional military and student parades were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Mayor of the southern Athenian suburb of Glyfada also installed a huge Greek flag on the slopes of Mount Hymettus, overlooking the capital city,
The 800-square meter flag can be seen from most parts of southern Athens.
“With pride, up there on Mount Hymettus we put the Greek flag today! Above the small church of Prophet Elias where it is visible from everywhere. It is a tribute to the Greeks who sacrificed themselves in the ’40s, defending our homeland,” Mayor Giorgos Papanikolaou said on Twitter.
Greece’s Prime Minister and President celebrate OXI Day:
In his address for the national holiday, Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, appealed to Greeks to show the same unity and solidarity they did in 1940.
“Today, our country is facing different challenges than those it faced 80 years earlier,” Mitsotakis said. “But we must marshal the same virtues that made Greece then too: national unity, a high mindset, the sense of solidarity.”
Mitsotakis was at the Greek naval base in Souda Bay, Chania, on the island of Crete, visiting with sailors at the naval base and the crew of the submarine “Katsonis.”
Greece’s President, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, on the other hand, was in Thessaloniki to celebrate the national day.
Sakellaropoulou lay a wreath at the Heroes Monument at the 3rd Army Battalion in Thessaloniki, while Air Force jets, followed by helicopters, flew over the city.
In a speech, she said that history teaches the Greek people that Greece “becomes stronger and overcomes every obstacle when it is united.”
“Greece chose the right side of history, defended liberty, justice and human values against the barbarity of fascism and the violence of Nazism, overcame fear, fought valiantly under the worst possible conditions and gained the admiration of the entire world,” Sakellaropoulou said.
“That event still inspires Greeks. Today, under difficult circumstances, in the midst of a pandemic and tensions in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, the event serves as a model of solidarity, unity and national self-confidence.”