Greek Independence Day is an occasion to remember the historical and cultural values that bind Greece and the United States, US President Donald Trump said on Thursday.
Speaking at a celebration for the March 25, 1821, anniversary at the White House, Trump said that the event was an occasion to “take renewed confidence that whatever challenges we might face anytime in the future, we will face them together as members of a great community of nations.”
“Like our ancestors, we too shall draw strength from the bonds of history and culture that united our countries and shape our destinies,” the American president told a gathering of hundreds of prominent members of the Greek American community.
Thanking his guests, Trump said that Greece’s “enduring influence” is evident not just in the principles that have shaped western civilization, in culture, science and architecture, but also “through so many Americans of Greek descent who contribute so much to this nation that we love.”
Noting that Greek Independence Day has been celebrated at the White House since 1987 and will continue to do so for years to come, Trump quipped that he will only be there “for another seven.”
Trump also expressed his “deep gratitude” to Archbishop Demetrius,” describing the head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America as “highly respected and a great gentleman.”
The archbishop, for his part, thanked Trump for the invitation, saying that by hosting the celebration the American president was “honoring the spirit of freedom and human dignity that wells in the hearts of all humanity.”
“Our American Declaration of Independence speaks of truths that are self-evident. It is a paradox that such self-evident truths are often the ones that we must advocate most passionately and defend more strenuously time and time again, frequently with enormous sacrifices,” Archbishop Demetrius said. “The Greek War of Independence is a prime example of this.”
“Mr President, we are grateful that you share these vital American and universal principles and we kindly ask that you continue to affirm them all the more in this troubled world,” the archbishop said.
“We further ask for your special care and attention to the continuous injustices suffered by our Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in matters of full religious freedom,” he added.
The archbishop also called on the US president to “speak on behalf of all of us for a fair and equitable solution to the prolonged and tragic division of Cyprus and to the issue of a solution for a historically appropriate and justifiable name for the state of FYROM,” he said referring to ongoing name talks between Athens and Skopje.