ANA-MPA — “For one day, we are all Greeks,” U.S. President Barack Obama told an event held at the White House on Friday to commemorate the Greek Independence Day of March 25, 1821, also stressing that “Greece and the United States stand side by side as partners and allies.”
President Obama emphasized the profound impact Greek-Americans had in the American nation, and referred specifically to the Greek communities of Tarpon Springs (Florida) and Chicago. He closed his brief address by exclaiming in Greek “Long live Greece!”
Opening the event, Vice President Joe Biden, who had called Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras the day before the celebration “to congratulate Greece,” said that he welcomed Greece’s continued economic progress as the government carries out its reforms, and pledged enduring U.S. support for returning Greece to economic growth and prosperity. VP Biden also expressed his support for the reopening of the Theological School of Halki
Archbishop Demetrios of America thanked President Obama for the hospitality and great honour to the Orthodox Greek-American community, and spoke of the “common values” uniting Greeks and Americans.
In the event, held for the 28th consecutive year, Greece was represented by Culture and Sports Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos, Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni and Greek Ambassador to Washington Christos Panayopoulos.
A private meeting was held before the start of the event between President Obama, VP Biden and Archbishop Demetrios, in the White House’s Green Room.