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In commemoration of OXI Day this week, HALC will bring you content highlighting the courage, bravery, and life of Greeks during the war.
There are many quotations by various leaders that are often repeated on OXI Day – this quote from Winston Churchill about Greek bravery during WWII probably being the most famous of the lot:
Hence we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like Greeks!
Less circulated is the eloquent praise bestowed upon Greece and her people by American president Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Here is the full text a letter by Roosevelt, a “Letter Praising the Heroism of the Greeks,” sent to the Ambassador of Greece in Washington on October 29, 1942:
My dear Mr. Ambassador:
On the early morning of October 28, 1940, the Fascist aggressors handed an ultimatum to Greece. The challenge was hurled back without a moment’s hesitation. This was what might have been expected from a gallant and courageous people devoted to their homeland. You commemorate tonight the second anniversary of the beginning of the total resistance of the Greek people to totalitarian warfare.
More significant, even, than the initial reply to the challenge is the fact that Greece has continued to fight, with every means at its command. When the Greek mainland was overrun, the resistance was carried on from the islands. When the islands fell, resistance continued from Africa, from the seas, from anywhere the aggressor could be met.
To those who prefer to compromise, to follow a course of expediency, or to appease, or to count the cost, I say that Greece has set the example which every one of us must follow until the despoilers of freedom everywhere have been brought to their just doom.
The following year, as the United States “transferred a 173-foot anti-submarine patrol ship named King George II to Greece to aid in their resistance efforts,” Roosevelt again commended Greeks for their resilience and resistance:
Today Greece is a land of desolation, stripped bare of all the essentials of living. Thousands have died of hunger. Thousands are dying still. Today Greece is a gaunt and haggard sample of what the Axis is so willing, so eager, to hand to all the world. But within their own land and on other shores, the Greeks are fighting on. They will never be defeated, and the day will come when liberated Greeks will again maintain their own government within the shadow of the Acropolis and the Parthenon. As an expression of our hopes and our prayers that this day may be hastened, the government and the people of the United States offer a token of our warm friendship for the government and the people of Greece. This ship of war, built by American hands in an American yard, is delivered under the terms of Lend-Lease to fighting Greeks wherever they may be, as part of the Royal Hellenic Navy, and christened King George II. May she add even more luster to the glory that is Greece.
You can read more about FDR and OXI Day from The Pappas Post.
Catch up on the posts in this series: