Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has sent a tribute message to Australia’s Cretan Community ahead of a commemorative dinner to be held on Saturday night, honouring the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Crete.
The Cretan Association of Sydney and NSW will be holding a ‘Battle of Crete Dinner Dance’ on the 10th of April to commemorate this historic landmark, held at the Croatian Club in Punchbowl.
The Australian Prime Minister said now is a time when Greek people can “draw strength from their rich history”.
“In the aftermath of a battle fought with honour, and conceded without disgrace, a deep friendship was forged,” Mr Morrison said in a statement.
“The record of the days and weeks that followed is a chapter of bravery and selflessness that has bound Australia to Crete ever after.”
The Australian PM recognised that on this anniversary in years prior, Australian veterans and their descendants would travel to Greece to honour the dead who rest in peace at Suda Bay.
“In 2021, those reunions are out of reach. But, the painful separation of a global pandemic has endowed togetherness with new meaning. The strength of our friendship is not bound by time or distance,” Mr Morrison said.
“In the theatre of war, the people of Greece and Australia were united in a quest for peace. As they confronted tyranny together, they upheld the principals of justice and liberty so beloved by both our nations.
“Today, we reflect on the spirit of sacrifice and shared humanity enacted on Crete in 1941. We rejoice in our enduring friendship, nurtured by ties of blood and fostered by mutual respect. As we stood together in war, so we stand together in peace — our eyes fixed firmly on a future shaped by the valour of the past.”
The Battle of Crete began on the morning of 20 May 1941, when Nazi Germany began an airborne invasion of Crete. Allied forces, including Australian, British, New Zealand and Greek troops, fought in the battle which lasted over 12 days.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian also sent her best wishes to the Cretan Association of Sydney and NSW, saying it is “heart-warming” to see Australians of Cretan heritage “honour the courage and sacrifices of the ANZAC troops and their forebears.”
Details of the event can be found here: https://bit.ly/3uR9noL