Floor Statement Recognizing the 185th Anniversary of Greek Independence
MR REED: Mr. President, today I recognize the 185th anniversary of Greek independence, which will be celebrated on Saturday, March 25. As the Greek philosopher Plato said The beginning is the most important part of the work.'' After centuries of unsuccessful uprisings and failure of the Ottoman Empire to assimilate and convert the Greeks, the War of Independence began on this day, March 25 in 1821. This was the beginning of the end of 400 years of occupation and oppression by the Ottoman Turks. During the dark years of the Ottoman occupation, thousands were killed and tortured for participating in religious activities or teaching their children culture, history, and language. The steadfast resolve displayed by the Greeks helped secure their independence and recognition as a sovereign power nearly 11 years later with the signing of the Treaty of Constantinople. This struggle for Greek independence was recognized the world over and was supported abroad by prominent world figures including Lord Byron of England, and Daniel Webster and Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe of the United States. As we fight today's Long War on Terror, the Greeks stand by our side. A highlight of the Greek military's continuing contributions to the International Coalition was the deployment of the 229th Mobile Field Surgical Hospital deployed to Afghanistan. At full operational status within 3 days, medical experts and officials believe the 229th is one of the best medical facilities that has ever operated in Afghanistan. A Greek proverb says, Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.'' Still alive and well in our own society today are the principles and ideas of ancient Greece. When we commemorate the heroism exhibited by the Greeks, we cannot help but to think of our Founding Fathers. Then and now, Greece and the United States share an absolute commitment to democracy, justice, and freedom. In history the Greeks have inspired, and in the present they have enlivened our great Nation. It gives me great pleasure and pride to cosponsor the Senate Resolution 399 designating March 25, 2006, as Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy. I send all Greek-Americans in Rhode Island and around the country my best wishes as they celebrate their ancestral homeland's independence.