On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., a co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic and the co-founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Hellenic Israel Alliance Caucus, introduced a resolution honoring the 200th anniversary of Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire.

The grandson of Greek immigrants himself, Bilirakis pointed out that almost two million Americans claim Greek ancestry.

“The resolution emphasizes the hard-fought struggle for independence of the Greek people, and the historic and dynamic relationship that defines the deep American-Hellenic ties,” the congressman’s office noted.

Bilirakis has reeled in the support of eight co-sponsors including U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla.

“It is with great pride that I recognize the 200th Anniversary of Greek Independence and celebrate Greek and American democracy. Like the American revolutionaries who fought for independence and established this great republic we call the ‘Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave’, Greek freedom fighters began an arduous struggle to win independence for Greece and its people 200 years ago. The lessons the Greeks taught us then continue to provide strength to victims of persecution throughout the world today. By honoring the Greek struggle for independence, we reaffirm the values and ideas that make our nation great. Socrates, Plato, Pericles, and many other great minds throughout history warned that we maintain democracy only at a great cost. Our Greek brothers earned their liberty with blood as did our American forefathers. The freedom we enjoy today is due to the sacrifices made by men and women in the past. Each time I perform my constitutional duties, I am doing so in the legacy of the ancient Greeks and our American forefathers. We celebrate Greek independence to reaffirm the common democratic heritage we share. As Americans, we must continue to pursue this spirit of freedom and liberty that characterizes both great nations, ” said Bilirakis.

“I am proud to join with my bipartisan & bicameral partners in introducing this resolution to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Greece’s independence and her people’s freedom from the Ottoman Empire. I have the unique privilege of representing one of the largest Greek American communities in the United States, and I am blessed to call many of them close friends,” said U.S Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, also a co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues. “As the birthplace of democracy, Greece was an inspiration for the United States’ system of government. And just as Greece inspired our country, our revolution helped inspire the Greeks to revolt against the Ottoman Empire. After generations of oppression, Greece’s freedom was hard-fought, and the Hellenic Republic has become a shining example of democracy to the world. I’m thrilled to celebrate the bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence and the historic US-Greece relationship.”

The resolution was sent to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.


Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.


Kevin Derby
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