Happy Independence Day! AHEPA wishes you a happy and fun Fourth of July -- and however you may be celebrating in this unique time -- we hope it is in a safe fashion. Further, in doing so, please take a moment to reflect upon what the holiday means and give thanks to those who made it possible.
The Founding Fathers of the United States drew heavily upon the ideal of democracy conceived by the ancient Greeks in addition to the works of Plato and Aristotle. The influence of Classical Education upon the thinking of the Founding Fathers is undeniable as evidenced by their writings and debates about how to form a republic. Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, thought of Greece as "the first of civilized nations [which] presented example of what man should be."
On this, the 244th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, we take a moment to reflect on the founding of the United States, the ideals and values that comprised our nation's founding, and remember our fellow Americans who have fought to secure, preserve and protect those ideals and values, which include: democracy, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, for 244 years.
As I observe this year's Independence Day, I reflect fondly, and proudly as a Greek American, to the American Bicentennial celebrations held in Philadelphia. Greece had a significant role to play in those celebrations with an American tour of the National Dance Company - with performances by Dora Stratou - and productions of “Oedipus at Colonus” and “Never on a Sunday” were staged nationwide. Prime Minister Constantine Caramanlis also came to America to honor the birthplace of democracy - here in the New World visiting from the nation whose ancient ancestors gifted the world democracy. Looking forward, I cannot help but to get excited and enthused as Greece will celebrate its Bicentennial in 2021. We hope to see each of you in Greece next year to celebrate with us at the AHEPA Supreme Convention in Athens next July!