Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration
Mr. HORN. Mr. Speaker, I want to join with my colleagues tonight to pay special recognition to this anniversary of the independence of Greece. This year, we join together again to honor the hard won independence of a land that will forever hold a special place in American culture. Also, I want to take this opportunity to thank Representatives Bilirakis and Maloney for their efforts to organize the House's celebration of this event tonight.
Mr. Speaker, more than 2,500 years ago the people of Greece began to formulate the ideas that now serve as the foundation for our system of government, science, philosophy, law, literature, and art. The gift of Greek culture to the world, and the special debt this nation owes to Greece, is priceless. The Greek tradition that began in the mists of time with Homer led to the Golden Age and later to the intellectual and aesthetic enrichment of the Roman Republic and Empire, the European Renaissance, and our own nation's founding principles.
We also share with Greece the triumphant experience of fighting for and winning independence. In 1821, after nearly 2,000 years of foreign rule, the people of Greece rose up and declared their independence from the Ottoman Empire. After nearly a decade of struggle, the Greek people won their freedom. Their cause was celebrated throughout the democratic world at the time, and continues to inspire us today.
Greece has contributed to this nation in other ways. It is difficult to find areas of this country where Greek-Americans have not contributed to the betterment of their communities. In my own area of Southern California, the vibrant Greek-American community has enriched all our lives. Recently, I was honored to take part in the annual celebration of the Hellenic-American Council of Southern California. Through this and many other excellent organizations, the Greek-American community has made important contributions to the United States.
In the Second World War, Greeks fought with Americans to turn back Nazi and Fascist aggression. After that war, Greece remained on the side of freedom and democracy, serving as an early bulwark against the spread of communist totalitarianism. The assistance provided to Greece beginning under the Truman Doctrine and later continued within the NATO alliance continued the strong link between our nations. This cooperation continues today, as both nations face the instability in the Balkans and other threats to peace in the region.
Again, Mr. Speaker, I want to extend my sincere good wishes to the people of Greece and those of Greek heritage on this happy occasion.