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American and World Personalities at the 3rd Annual Washington OXI Day Celebration
Once more the world was reminded that it was the people of Greece who produced modern history’s most consequential act of David vs. Goliath courage and other acts of bravery during WWII, at the Third Annual Washington OXI Day Foundation Celebration this past October. In a series of events
that lasted three days and included a black tie award dinner at the Organization of American States landmark building, dozens of government officials, media leaders, think tank experts and business leaders participated along with representatives from 20 or so countries. The celebration
ceremonies culminated with a wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknowns. Internationally acclaimed singer and activist Bono, Former Secretary of State and likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Chairman of the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez, Chairman of the House Middle East Subcommittee Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Senator and probable Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, were some of the personalities that saluted the OXI Day events.
American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris received the Metropolitan Chrysostomos Award. “I cannot say, and I’m not sure how many of us could say that, were we in the shoes of Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Zakynthos in 1943, with the Nazis having occupied not just Greece, but
most continental Europe, that I would have had remotely the courage that he and the mayor showed when the occupying Nazis demanded the list of the 275 Jews… and as they were presented a list of two names- the Bishop’s and the Mayor’s,” Harris said in his acceptance remarks.
Lieutenant General Konstantinos Korkas, the late Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Mehiel and John Dingell, the longest serving Member of Congress in US history, were honored with the Greatest Generation Award. Dennis Mehiel accepted the award on behalf of his late father. Jim Chanos, a
pundit in matters of economy and finance, was the keynote speaker at the ceremony, demonstrating an equally impressive prowess at world history.
Bono introduced via video Kenyan journalist and anti-corruption activist John Githongo who received the OXI Day Award. Bono saluted the “courage of the Greek people who stood up so valiantly for freedoms and democracy in the Second World War against the seemingly unstoppable Nazis. These
are moments of human grit and defiance that we’re right to celebrate.” Githongo, in his turn, said that “the fighting spirit and sense of honor of the Greek people …served to shape the outcome of World War II and in turn shaped the post-war order in which we all live. I thank the
Washington Oxi Day Foundation for reminding me and all of us, that when grappling with corruption the first step often ideally begins with saying one word – ‘Oxi!'”
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi introduced this year’s OXI Day Battle of Crete Award honoree, Cuban dissident and human rights activist Berta Soler. “They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but this word, ‘Oxi’ is worth thousands of pictures, pictures of the Greek people who
fought so hard…and cared about freedom so much they turned the tide of the war…the strength of Greece made victory possible,” Pelosi remarked.
Berta Soler, in her acceptance speech, declared that “we follow the example of the Greek women who showed extraordinary courage in the face of the Nazi invasion, truly like David confronted by Goliath…Inspired by the strength with which the people of Greece said ‘Oxi’ to the Nazi
oppressor, we, the Ladies in White in Cuba, continue saying ‘Oxi’ to our oppressor, ‘Oxi’ to injustice, ‘Oxi’ to violence, ‘Oxi’ to the dictatorship and ‘Oxi’ to totalitarianism.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed the awards presentation via video, as did Senator Bob Menendez, Chaiman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Congresswoman Ilean Ros-Lehitenen, Chair, House Middle East Subcommittee.
Kalomira Sarantis, Gold Record Performing Artist, sang the national anthems. Father Dimitrios Antokas offered the Invocation and Father Constantine Pavlakos closed the awards event with the Benediction.
For more information on the events and the Washington OXI Day Foundation their website is www.oxidayfoundation.org