[Congressional Record Volume 141, Number 55 (Friday, March 24, 1995)]
[House]
[Pages H3796-H3804]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                         GREEK INDEPENDENCE DAY

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 4, 1995, the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Bilirakis] is 
recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
  Mr. BILIRAKIS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today as I have each March for the 
last dozen years here in the Hall of American democracy, to honor the 
spirit of freedom that lies at the heart of our political system. It is 
the idea of democratic government, brought forth by the ancient Greeks 
and which today sweeps the modern world.
  It is, indeed, fitting that we celebrate this magnificent concept of 
democratic government this week because this Saturday, March 25, is the 
date that people of Greek heritage and the Greek Orthodox faith--as 
well as freedom-loving individuals everywhere--celebrate the symbolic 
Rebirth of Democracy: Greek Independence Day.
  March 25, 1995, will be the 174th anniversary of the beginning of 
Greece's struggle for independence from more than 400 years of foreign 
domination. It was on this historic day that the Greek people began a 
series of uprisings against their Turkish oppressors, uprisings that 
soon turned into a revolution attracting wide international support.
  The Greeks' long and arduous struggle against the Ottoman Empire is a 
perfect example of the ability of mankind to overcome all obstacles if 
the will to persevere is strong enough and the goal--in this case, the 
dream of freedom--is bright enough.
  The United States of America is surely the truest expression of this 
dream today. It remains an imperfect dream, yes, but it is still the 
shining example which oppressed people throughout the world have looked 
to for generations and from which they have gained strength in their 
struggles to overcome their oppressors.
  This dream of democracy--born so long ago in Greece--and its greatest 
tangible expression in our great Democratic republic, Mr. Speaker, 
forms the common bond between our two nations. Furthermore, it is a 
bond that has stretched throughout history, from ancient times to the 
present day.
  The history of the Greek war for independence also is filled with 
heroes and heroism, remarkable events by many peoples in a common 
cause. It is partly the story of the Klephts, who descended upon the 
invaders from their mountain strongholds. It is also the story of the 
Hydriots, seafarers who broke the Ottoman naval blockade; and it is the 
story of the Philhellenes, who took these tales of courage to Europe 
where their significance was not overlooked.
  These stories woven together formed the fabric of a free and 
independent Greece, of democracy returned to the cradle where it was 
born, and defended by the defiant cries of the Greek patriots: 
``Eleftheria I Thanatos''--Liberty or Death.
  As probably a typical illustration of courage in that fight is a 
story told in the newspaper ``The Greek American'' by writer Eva 
Catafygiotu Topping tells us of the fight by the Greeks of the island 
of Psara in the Aegean Sea.
  I yield to the gentlewoman from New York [Mrs. Maloney] for her 
statement.
  Mrs. MALONEY. Thank you, Mr. Bilirakis.
  Mr. Speaker, it is a distinct honor to join my friend, Mr. Bilirakis, 
and 
[[Page H3797]] other advocates of Greek-American relations in this 
important special order.
  This is my third year in Congress and the third time that I have 
stood together with the esteemed gentleman from Florida to celebrate 
Greek Independence Day and to discuss a few of the pressing issues on 
the Hellenic agenda.
  The presence of the various Members on the floor today proves that 
support for Greece and Greek-Americans is an issue that unites 
Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, and Members from 
all across this great Nation.
  Mr. Speaker, this Sunday I will be humbled to receive one of the 
greatest honors to be bestowed on me in my entire career in public 
life. I will be the grand marshall of the annual Greek Independence Day 
parade on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
  There are a number of reasons why this honor means so much to me.
  First, because I will be joined by thousands of my neighbors and 
constituents. I am privileged to represent one of the largest and most 
vibrant Greek-American and Cypriot-American communities in the Nation. 
In the wonderful neighborhood of Astoria, Queens, where tens of 
thousands of Greek-Americans reside, I have always been overwhelmed by 
the warmth and enthusiasm with which the community has welcomed me.
  Marching side by side with my Greek-American friends on Sunday will 
once again instill me with respect and admiration for this special 
people and their remarkable heritage. And it is this heritage that we 
celebrate today.
  March 25 marks the 174th anniversary of the day when the Greek people 
won back their independence after nearly 400 years of cruel domination 
by the Ottoman Empire. One hundred and seventy-four years ago, the 
Greek people were able to resume their rightful place as an exemplar of 
democratic ideals to the rest of the Western world. In fact, our own 
American revolution and fight for independence was inspired by the 
ancient Greek paradigm of democracy and individual liberties.
  Perhaps the American philosopher Will Durant put it best when he said 
``Greece is the bright morning star of that Western civilization which 
is our nourishment and life.''
  Mr. Speaker, in the year that has passed since our last special 
order, my colleagues and I who advocate for Hellenic issues have been 
heartened by some important victories and challenged by other 
developments. I would like to take a few minutes to touch on some of 
these issues.
  First, a great victory. Many of us in this Chamber worked long and 
hard on behalf of the Omonia Four, ethnic Greeks who were unfairly and 
unjustly imprisoned by the Albanian Government on trumped up charges of 
espionage. Month after month, week after week, Members of Congress and 
others, like Mrs. Kathryn Porter of Illinois and the writer Nicholas 
Gage, lobbied our State Department and the Albanian Government for a 
resolution of this problem.
  Finally, just a few weeks ago, the Albanian Supreme Court ordered the 
release of these long-suffering individuals. I commend Albanian 
President Berisha for this gesture, but I also want to let him know 
that we in Congress will continue to closely monitor the human rights 
situation of the Greek minority in Northern Epirus.
  And now to another important issue. Mr. Speaker, make no mistake: 
Macedonia is Greek.
  Over the past year, there have been important developments concerning 
the controversy over the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. 
Unfortunately, in a move that I strongly opposed, the U.S. Government 
recognized FYROM. But to date, thanks in large measure to the strong 
opposition of many of us on the floor tonight, we have refrained from 
establishing formal diplomatic relations with this republic.
  I had the opportunity to visit Greek Macedonia, the real Macedonia. 
On this trip, I was able to witness firsthand the much justified 
passion that this issue engenders. This is not just about a simple 
name. In fact, when Tito changed the name of the republic to 
``Macedonia'' in 1944, the United States strongly opposed this action 
as ``unjustified demagoguery representing no ethnic or political 
reality.''
  It should be the policy of the United States not to weigh in 
unilaterally on one side of this dispute but to support honest 
negotiations between Greece and FYROM to resolve these issues.
  It is for this reason that I am proud to report that Mr. Bilirakis 
and I have reintroduced our bill, House Concurrent Resolution 31, which 
calls on the United States to support Greece in its efforts to reach a 
solution which promotes a solid, cooperative relationship between the 
two countries. And just as significantly, our resolution--which is 
cosponsored by dozens of pro-Greek Members of this House--would delay 
any establishment of formal diplomatic relations with FYROM until this 
just and fair relationship is established.
  Finally, Mr. Speaker, we cannot celebrate the magnificent occasion of 
Greek Independence Day without touching on the tragic situation on 
Cyprus.
  You do not have to be a Greek-American or a Cypriot-American to feel 
the outrage and pain felt by Cypriots who have had their land brutally 
and illegally occupied by Turkish forces for over 20 years. But it 
helps immeasurably to go to Cyprus like I have and look into the eyes 
of the people whose lives and families have been hurt, even destroyed, 
by this dark moment in world history.
  And I have shared the pain of some of my own constituents in Astoria 
whose beloved family members are still missing from the Turkish 
invasion.
  Twenty years is far too long for the families of the 1,619 missing to 
wait. But even if it takes another 20 years, we can never turn our 
backs on those who suffered in the invasion and those who continue to 
suffer on that beautiful island even today.
  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be a cosponsor of a resolution authored 
by Mr. Engel and Mr. Porter which will put this House on record once 
again in insisting that this intolerable situation come to an end. In 
fact, last year, these two gentlemen and several of us passed a bill 
that will hopefully, finally, bring about an accounting of the five 
Americans missing from the invasion.
  Later this spring, I will welcome to Astoria the Honorable Richard 
Beattie, President Clinton's Special Emissary to Cyprus, who will brief 
the community on the ongoing negotiations between the Government of 
Cyprus and the Turkish Government.
  And under the leadership of Mr. Andrews of New Jersey, several of us 
have introduced a bill which would prohibit United States aid to Turkey 
unless and until the Turkish Government begins its withdrawal from 
Cyprus, improves its abysmal human rights record, and removes its 
unconscionable blockade of Armenia. And this bill will call on the 
Turkish Government to cease its military operations against Kurdish 
civilians.
  Suffice it to say that many of us in this House are very, very 
concerned about the current Turkish operation in northern Iraq and the 
reports that civilians are being killed.
  It is unfortunate, Mr. Speaker, that a special order dedicated to 
celebrate the birth of Greece and the democratic ideals and 
institutions that Greece has bestowed upon the world must also 
inevitably turn to the activities of the Turkish Government. But it is 
our duty to ensure that United States taxpayer dollars do not go toward 
subsidizing Turkish human rights abuses.
  In conclusion, I simply want to wish all of my Hellenic friends and 
constituents, and any who may be watching, a very happy Greek 
Independence Day.
  I pledge to you that every year that I am privileged to serve in 
Congress, I will come to the well of the House in March and extol the 
indomitable, life-giving spirit of the Greek people.
                              {time}  1500

  Mr. BILIRAKIS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman who, yes, indeed, 
in every March of every year comes to the well of this House. Also, I 
might add, in July of every year she comes to sort of commemorate, if 
we can call it that, the tragedy of the invasion of Cyprus some 20 
years ago. Thank you for all your great work.
  Mr. Speaker, at this point I would yield to the gentleman from 
Pennsylvania [Mr. Gekas].
  Mr. GEKAS. I thank the gentleman specifically for this day and for 
his 
[[Page H3798]] continuing efforts to make certain that special orders 
are created for the purpose of celebrating, commemorating, the 25th of 
March every single year.
  It becomes more important to me almost every year, Mr. Speaker, and I 
say to the Members, to parallel the history of our own country with 
that of Greece.
  In 1776, when our Nation launched its quest for independence, it was 
at a time when Greece was at the darkest period of its history under 
the yoke, for then 400-plus years, of the Ottoman Empire. But we are 
certain from anecdotal and other kinds of evidence that news of the 
American Revolution seeped into Greece and to the intelligentsia and to 
the villagers even in Greece, and little by little news of the 
successes of the Americans against the British became a watchword for 
the Greeks, who began to plan for their ultimate revolution.
  So we know that the American Revolution inspired in great measure the 
Greek Revolution that began in 1821.
  But that is not where the parallels end, as I look back on history. 
First of all, we had the impetus for the launching of the American 
Revolution, the Declaration of Independence. It is little recognized 
that the Greeks of that period also had a declaration of independence 
that emanated from Corinth, which was, is a bastion of freedom and 
liberty and classical splendor in the country of Greece.
  That declaration of independence by the then patriots in the 1820's 
paralleled much of the language that we saw in the Declaration of 
Independence. Where we pledged our sacred honor as Americans, they 
pledged all that they had, the sacrifice of life and of family and of 
nationhood forever in the quest for liberty.
  But that is not where the parallels end. We had our George 
Washington, a hero a patriarch, a leader of men, a diplomat, a soldier. 
The Greeks had Kolokotronis, the spelling of which I will supply the 
clerk afterwards or the stenographer, who paralleled that history. If I 
were a new Plutarch paralleling lives of Americans with other greats in 
other nations, I would parallel Washington with Kolokotronis.
  Then at one period in American revolutionary history there came to 
the side of Washington, to the aid of the American revolutionists, a 
foreigner, Lafayette, who came from a foreign country, France, to help 
the Americans in their quest for liberty.
  Guess what? In Greece there came to their side a lord, a poet, a 
nobleman of England. Lord Byron left England during the height of the 
revolution in Greece, came there, saw the splendors that he had always 
admired in Greece, wrote abundant poetry and prose having to do with 
his love of Greece and its history, and then, not satisfied with just 
rhetoric, not satisfied with just poetry, he entered the battle. At the 
battle of Missolonghi, the spelling of which I will provide the 
stenographer, at the battle of Missolonghi, he fought side by side, as 
did Lafayette with Washington, side by side with the Greeks in one of 
their most devastating battles, and lost his life. Lord Byron was 
killed on the very soil which he had so proudly described in his lyric 
poetry.
  So the parallels go on and on. Patrick Henry said give me liberty or 
give me death, and that is what was contained in the declaration by the 
Greeks in their movement toward independence, liberty or death. It is 
not just a coincidence.
  The point that I want to make, of which I am so proud, is that 
Americans of Greek descent recognize that the history of our country, 
the history of America that is, is intertwined inextricably with that 
of Greece. Not just from the Jeffersonian classical derivations that he 
himself, that great American was able to inculcate into the other men 
at the Constitutional Convention, with the ideals of intellectualism 
and freedom and democracy that Greece meant even back then, but then to 
see in their moment of woe and of misery, to see the President of the 
United States in 1822, James Monroe, issue a declaration and a message 
to Congress saying that that great classical country, from which we 
learned so much and on which we based so much of our own Nation, 
deserves our help, our sympathy, in the cry out for freedom that they 
themselves are bespeaking during their revolution.
  Henry Clay, one of the greatest orators of all time, stood in a well 
similar to that which is occupied by our colleagues here today, and in 
that legislative session of the House of Representatives in the 
Congress of the United States began a marvelous recitation of why 
America should never be anything except a benefactor of Greece, as was 
Greece a benefactor of the origins of America, as he put it.
  It goes on and on. The parallelisms are astounding and would make for 
a book, which I pledge to the Speaker I will attempt to write about 
what I speak here today, and reemphasize that, as Americans who have 
that extra privilege of having Greek heritage in our backgrounds, we 
are better Americans for it.
  Thank you.
  Mr. BILIRAKIS. I thank my colleague for his wisdom, for his wise 
words, and for that history which we all need to hear over and over 
again.
  At this point I recognize the gentleman from New York [Mr. Gilman].
  Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Bilirakis] for 
arranging this special order permitting us to observe this very special 
day of historical significance for all who cherish freedom and revere 
independence from foreign domination.
  On March 25, we will mark the 174th anniversary of the beginning of 
the revolution that ended with the people of Greece gaining their 
freedom from the Ottoman Empire.
  For nearly 400 years, from the fall of Constantinople in 1453, until 
their declaration of independence in 1821, Greece had been under 
Ottoman rule. It was a period when people were deprived of civil 
rights, schools and churches were shuttered, Christian and Jewish boys 
were taken from their families to be raised as Moslems to serve the 
Sultan.
  The people of Greece raised their flag of independence just 45 years 
after we in America ``fired the shot heard `round the world.'' Our 
Nation served as their role model, and the echoes of our War for 
Independence against Great Britain resounded in the Aegean, and have 
served to forge a special kinship between the United States and Greece.
  By the same token, our Founding Fathers drew heavily upon the civic 
history of ancient Greece in formulating our own form of government. As 
James Madison and Alexander Hamilton wrote in ``The Federalist 
Papers'':

       Among the confederacies of antiquity the most considerable 
     was that of the Grecian republics [which] bore a very 
     instructive analogy to the present confederation of the 
     American states.

  I am pleased to join with my colleagues in recognizing this very 
important milestone in the world's march to freedom. And as we 
recognize this important historical event for Greece, let us pause to 
recall the 1,600 Greece Cypriots who regrettably are still listed as 
missing as a result of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus more than 20 
years ago.
  And let us hope and pray that by next year's celebration or Greek 
Independence Day, that Cyprus will be reunited and that the missing 
Cypriots will be fully accounted for.
  Mr. BILIRAKIS. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, who also joins us 
year after year after year, a wonderful fellow Hellene, friend of human 
rights all over the world. We thank you, Ben, for your wonderful 
friendship you have shown over the years.
  Mr. Speaker, earlier I alluded to this article in the newspaper 
called the Greek American. It is an article entitled ``Liberty or 
Death: Psara, July 1824,'' by Eva Topping. I will read from that 
article as follows:
                   Liberty or Death: Psara, July 1824

                      (By Eva Catafygiotu Topping)

       To find tiny Psara on the island-studded map of the Aegean 
     Sea is not easy. Sixteen square miles of barren rock and 
     mountainous terrain. It lies twelve miles off the northwest 
     coast of Chios. Homer mentions it once in the Odyssey. Then, 
     as if buried under the blue Aegean waters, Psara disappeared 
     for centuries from recorded history,
       Suddenly, however, in the eighteenth century the island 
     came to life, a prosperous naval and commercial center. And 
     during the Greek Revolution in the next century, Psara made 
     history. On July 4, 1824, it achieved immortality when its 
     brave people chose death rather than surrender to the Turks. 
     In the long and rich history of the Greeks' unending struggle 
     for liberty there exists no more stirring example of heroic 
     idealism.
       [[Page H3799]] On the island of Zakynthos in the Ionian 
     Sea, Dionysios Solomos, a young twenty-six year old poet, 
     responded immediately to the story of Psara with a haunting 
     epigram of six verses.

     Ston Psaron ten olomavri rahi
     perpatontas e Doxa monahi,
     meleta ta lambra palikaria,
     kai stin komi stephani phorei
     yinomeno ap ta liga hortaria
     pou eihan meni stin eremi yi.

     On Psara's all-blackened ridge,
     Glory walking alone
     mediates on noble heroes.
     And on her hair She wears a crown
     made of the few blades of grass
     that had been left on the desolate earth.

       Needless to say, no translation (including mine) adequately 
     conveys the extraordinary pathos and beauty of Solomos' 
     masterpiece. His is the perfect tribute to the Psariots' 
     glorious passion for freedom.
       One hundred and seventy-one years later, the story of Psara 
     that inspired Solomos still deserves to be told.
       In 1824, the Greek War of Independence, begun on 22 March 
     1821, was in its fourth year. The people of Psara had been 
     among the first to join the Revolution. Moreover, Psariots 
     had also been among the first to join the secret 
     revolutionary Society of Friends (Philiki Hetairia) founded 
     in Odessa (1814).
       On Easter Sunday, April 23, 1821, at a solemn meeting of 
     the entire population, the people of Psara declared 
     themselves free and independent. (On that same day in 
     Constantinople, the Turks hanged the Patriarch and began a 
     reign of terror against the Greek population in the empire.)
       On Psara, the people raised a flag of their own design. 
     Their flag was made of white cloth bordered with red. The 
     name of the island appears at the top in red letters. 
     Standing on a crescent in reverse, a large red cross 
     dominates the flag. The cross is flanked on one side by a 
     sword, on the other by a serpent killed by a bird. Straight 
     across the flag are inscribed in bold, red capital letters 
     the words Eleftheria e Thanatos (Liberty or Death).
       The red color, the symbols, the words, all expressed the 
     Psariots' determination to win their freedom. Their choice 
     lay between two absolutes. No compromise was possible. If 
     Psariots could not be free, they would die. In July 1824, the 
     proud flag of Psara proved tragically prophetic.
       From the beginning of the struggle for Greek independence, 
     the brave sailors and captains of the tiny Aegean island had 
     dedicated their lives and ships to the sacred cause, freedom 
     from Ottoman rule. No sooner had the Psariots declared their 
     independence than their little ships sailed out to fight. 
     Cruising up and down the sea from the Dardanelles to Rhodes, 
     they terrorized the Turkish population all along the Asia 
     Minor coast. They destroyed or captured Turkish ships, thus 
     paralyzing Turkish attempts to supply their forces in Greece. 
     Although Psara was the smallest of the four ``naval 
     islands,'' her sailors participated con- spiciously in every 
     naval campaign against the Turks from 1821-1824. Sometimes 
     they fought alone. The failure of the Turks to crush the 
     Greek ``rebellion'' after three years was in large measure 
     due to the exploits of the sailors and ships from Psara, 
     Hydra, Spetses, and Kasos.
       True children of the Aegean (it was said that Psariots went 
     to sea at age six), their sailors were the most daring, their 
     captains the most skillful, and their little ships the 
     lightest and fastest. Always outnumbered and outgunned, again 
     and again they proved themselves Greek Davids against the 
     Turkish Goliath.
       Psara distinguished itself not only by the patriotism and 
     the indefatigable activity of its seamen, but also by the 
     illustrious deeds of one of its sons, Konstantinos Kanaris. A 
     virtuoso of the dreaded fire-ship, this intrepid Psariot 
     captain avenged the brutal massacre of Chios (1822) by 
     setting fire and destroying the flagship of the Turkish fleet 
     lying at anchor offshore the devastated island. This and 
     similar exploits brought Kanaris international fame. Across 
     the Atlantic, Herman Melville described in Moby Dick how 
     ``the pith and sulphur-freighted brigs'' of ``bold'' Kanaris 
     ``issuing from their midnight harbors . . . bore down upon 
     the Turkish frigates, and folded them in conflagrations.''
       The spectacular victories of the Greek fleets, especially 
     those of the Psariots and their fireships, quickened hopes of 
     independence. At the same time, they convinced the Sultan 
     that unless he crushed these islanders, he would never 
     command the seas and thus never invade Greece where the 
     population was determined to defend its liberty. He decided 
     therefore to paralyze the Greeks by destroying Psara and 
     Kasos, their two most exposed naval stations. Especially 
     angry at the Psariots, he asked for a map in order to locate 
     their home base. Having located tiny Psara, he vowed to wipe 
     it off the map, out of existence. To this end, he ordered a 
     great fleet to be assembled at Constantinople. Its sailors 
     and soldiers were promised twelve times the prizes and booty 
     received at the holocaust of Chios two years earlier.
       Kasos was destroyed first. In early June a large fleet from 
     Egypt manned by 3000 Albanians attacked the island. 500 
     Kasiot seamen fell in the fighting. 2000 women and children 
     were captured, destined for the slave markets of Alexandria. 
     Plunder and looting were allowed for twenty-four hours.
       The destruction of Kasos previewed the fate that awaited 
     Psara. In mid-June, at a meeting in the historic church of 
     St. Nicholas, patron saint of sailors, it was decided to 
     fight to the death on the island for the island. To ratify 
     the decision, a solemn liturgy was then celebrated, at which 
     the people of Psara vowed again that they would die rather 
     than surrender.
       The formidable fleet from Constantinople arrived on July 1. 
     The armada consisted of 180 ships of different types. Aboard 
     were 14,000 soldiers, including a number of the feared 
     Janissaries, trained and ready to land and fight on the 
     island. On July 2 Greeks and Turks exchanged some indecisive 
     fire, encouraging the Psariot defenders that they could hold 
     their positions.
       The battle for Psara began the next morning. During the 
     night Turkish troops had landed on the unprotected north and 
     now threatened the town in the southwest corner of the 
     island. French officers left vivid accounts of ``le 
     spectacle'' they witnessed from two ships nearby. Despite 
     desperate Psariot resistance to the Turkish advance, they 
     were overpowered.
       Nevertheless, they inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy 
     and died fighting. Not a single Psariot laid down his weapon.
       At the sight of the Turks on the hills above the town, 
     panic seized the population. While the fleet shelled the 
     town, women with their children jumped to death on the rocks 
     or in the sea. Men, women and children rushed to the shore, 
     hoping to escape in overcrowded boats. Many of these 
     capsized, covering the sea with corpses. Fierce fighting took 
     place in the town. The streets ran with blood. The French 
     officers described the day as one of carnage.
       The heroic but futile resistance of the Psariots ended on 
     July 4. The last stand was made at Palaiokastro, an old fort 
     above the town, where several hundred soldiers, women and 
     children had taken refuge. Having taken down the proud 
     Psariot flag that flew over the fort, 2000 Turks stormed it. 
     The moment they entered the fort, Antonios Vratsanos lit the 
     fuse to a magazine of gunpowder, blowing up all the Psariots 
     along with their enemy. The valiant Psariots, defenders of 
     their liberty, were faithful to their flag. They chose to die 
     rather than to live as slaves. A French officer who heard and 
     saw the explosion compared it to a volcanic eruption of 
     Vesuvius.
       By the end of July 4, 1824, Psara was no more. Part of its 
     population had been brutally massacred. Another part had been 
     taken captive, cargo for the slave markets of Smyrna. And a 
     part had managed to escape, including Kanaris. No one 
     remained on the island except, so it was said, for one monk. 
     The fine houses and twenty churches of the town were looted. 
     Finally, the town was set on fire. Although surviving seamen 
     from Psara never stopped sailing against the Turks, a Psariot 
     fleet no longer existed to frustrate the Sultan's plans.
       The refugees from Psara were settled on Monemvasia and on 
     Euboea where they founded the village of New Psara. Psara 
     itself remained under Turkish control until 1912.
       Notwithstanding the passage of 171 years since July 4, 
     1824. Glory still walks on the hallowed rocks and mountains 
     of tiny Psara. And with her let us meditate and honor the 
     heroic islanders for whom liberty was more precious than 
     life.

  At this point I yield to the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Klink] 
who I know has a long five or so hour drive to Pittsburgh to his home. 
He could have left better than an hour ago after the last vote, but 
decided to stay to be a part of this special order.
  Mr. KLINK. Mr. Speaker, the chairman is very kind. I thank him for 
yielding. I will tell the Speaker that I am very proud to join all of 
my colleagues here today, particularly proud to join Chairman 
Bilirakis, because we share not only a Greek heritage together, but it 
just so happens our families came from the same small island of 
Kalimnos in the Aegean Sea. So we are very proud as Kalimnosians that 
we were able to represent not only our districts and our people here, 
but those people of our forefathers who settled and worked very hard on 
that tiny island.
  When you look back at the quotes that have been made about this 
Nation, about this great Nation of the United States that we are so 
proud to live in, and you look at the quotes that were made about 
Greece, it is hard to differentiate one from the other. For example, I 
will read a quote. It says, ``Our Constitution is called a democracy 
because power is in the hands not of the minority, but of the whole 
people. When it is a question of settling private disputes, everyone is 
equal before the law. When it is a question of putting one person 
before another in positions of public responsibility, what counts is 
not a membership of a particular class, but the actual ability which 
that man possesses.''
                       [[Page H3800]] {time}  1515

  Those comments were not made in this Nation although they could have 
been made. They were made by Pericles in an address in Greece 2000 
years ago and Plato of ``The Republic'' said democracy is a charming 
form of government, full of variety and disorder, and dispensing a kind 
of equality to equals and unequals alike.
  Again, those same comments would be made for our Nation. I enjoyed 
the bit of history lesson that we got from our colleague, Mr. Gekas. I 
appreciated also the fact that as we take a look at the 174 years of 
Greek independence, that our other colleague, Mr. Gilman, also brought 
the comment, none of us can be truly free if all of us are not free. He 
talked about over 20 years ago the invasion of Cyprus and the fact that 
1600 Greeks are still unaccounted for, and American citizens are still 
not accounted for, and we in this body need to stand up to make sure 
that there is an accounting given for those Greeks and those Americans 
that we do not know what occurred to them over 20 years ago.
  Thomas Jefferson said of the ancient Greeks, we are all indebted for 
the light which has led ourselves, speaking of the American colonists, 
out of Gothic darkness. So again, the many things that have brought 
these two nations together. We have inspired each other. Our Government 
here being inspired of what the vision of quality and of democratic 
debate that was that of the Greeks and the Greeks during some very hard 
times when they were under the domination of the Ottoman Empire, 
drawing their power, drawing their light from an American Revolution 
that had taken place just over four decades earlier, a Greek commander 
in chief appealed to the citizens of the United States and he said, 
having formed the resolution to live or die for freedom, we are drawn 
toward you by a just sympathy since it is in your land that liberty has 
fixed her abode, and by you that she is prized as by our fathers. 
Hence, honoring her name we invoke yours at the same time. Trusting 
that in imitating you, we shall imitate our ancestors and be thought 
worthy of them if we succeed in resembling you, it is for you, citizens 
of America, to crown this great glory.
  That is true. We honor each other with our governments. It is true 
that by being Americans, we have the distinct honor, Mr. Chairman, Mr. 
Bilirakis and I happen to have Greek blood. I will talk about Percy 
Bysshe Shelley who said, and this is a great quote, ``We are all 
Greeks, our laws, our literature, our religion, our art, all have their 
roots in Greece. And so we are all brothers together.''
  Mr. BILIRAKIS. I thank the gentleman for staying to join in this 
special order. It is great to have gotten to know him.
  We have seen over the years that democracy--which places the hands of 
the common man on the wheel of destiny--brings with it dangers as well. 
Freedom often brings with it old antagonisms, nationalist disputes that 
must be reconciled--and the old truism that warfare is only an 
extension of diplomacy is no better demonstrated than in the Balkans.
  The former Yugoslavia--cobbled together out of many competing ethnic 
factions and for years held together by the force of communism--has 
fragmented, often explosively. Fighting continues over Bosnian 
independence and in Yugoslavia's southern region an old dispute 
threatens the cradle of democracy, Greece itself.
  In 1945, the Greek Government protested when Yugoslavia's Communist 
dictator, Tito, usurped the name ``Macedonia'' for a province carved 
out of southern Yugoslavia to diminish the power of Serbia. This served 
only to inflame competing interests in a region stretching well beyond 
the borders of Yugoslavia and unstable since the days of Alexander the 
Great.
  While this province now understandably seeks its sovereignty, the 
concept of Macedonia must in no way be restricted within the borders of 
this tiny land. To recognize this province as an independent nation 
under the name ``Macedonia'' would, I fear, unleash antagonisms already 
bubbling at the boiling point.
  European leaders--among them the former Greek President Constantine 
Karamanlis, himself a Macedonian--have been voicing concerns to the 
European community over the Republic's request for recognition as an 
independent state.
  As recounted in the New York Times, constitutional language regarding 
a future ``union'' of the wider lands of ancient Macedonia--which reach 
into Bulgaria, Albania, and Greece--spark resentments and suspicion. 
Promises to protect the cultural, economic, and social rights of 
Macedonians in surrounding countries are equally ominous.
  More blatant still are maps that have been circulated in the region 
and bearing the seal of the Macedonian National Liberation Army; maps 
that depict the envisioned nation of Macedonia with borders reaching 
into eastern Albania, southwestern Bulgaria, and a full quarter of 
mainland Greece.
  In short, Mr. Speaker, there is much more at stake here than a name. 
Rushing in with official recognition could add another Bosnia-type 
conflict to a region already suffering from widespread violence. As 
Greek and other European officials recognize, freedom is indeed a 
magnificent thing, a precious gift, but unless existing differences are 
peacefully reconciled now, very dark days could lie ahead.
  Regrettably, however, the administration on February 8, 1994, went 
ahead unilaterally with recognition of Skopje under the provisional 
name of the ``former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.'' Many of us here 
in Congress were dismayed by this decision.
  On February 9, 1994, I assembled a delegation letter to President 
Clinton. The letter expressed our extreme disappointment and 
disagreement with the administration's decision to recognize the 
``former Yogoslav Republic of Macedonia'' under that name.
  The letter also stated to the President that ``this issue is a 
bipartisan one that has strong support in the Congress'' and that ``we 
fear that this formal recognition sends precisely the wrong message'' 
to Skopje and Greece ``at precisely the wrong time. The prospect of 
peace in the region will not be enhanced by your action; indeed, it may 
very well be compromised.''
  In times such as these, we must reflect on democracy as a goal worth 
the effort in ensuring its peaceful attainment. Indeed, we must reflect 
seriously on the democratic principles offered by ancient Greece.
  The ancient Greeks forged the very notion of democracy, placing the 
ultimate power to govern in the hands of the people themselves. The 
dream of self-rule was made reality as our Founding Fathers drew 
heavily on the political and philosophical experience of ancient Greece 
in forming our Government. For that contribution alone we owe a great 
debt to the Greeks.
  In the American colonial period, during the formative years of what 
would be our great Republic, no feature was more prominent than the 
extent to which Greek and Roman sources were cited by the framers of 
the Constitution. The very basis of our Constitution derives from 
Aristotle and was put into practice in ancient Rome, in 18th-century 
England and in the early State constitutions, before it was given its 
national embodiment by the Convention of 1787.
  The overriding appreciation was for Aristotle's sense of balance, 
since the Delegates viewed the tyrant and the mob as equally dangerous. 
Indeed, both James Madison and John Adams emphasized what Aristotle had 
written in ``The Politics,'' that ``the more perfect the admixture of 
the political elements, the more lasting will be the state.''
  Through the recognition of the idea of a separation of powers, a 
system of checks and balances was instituted in American Government. 
Thus, as another of the ancient Greeks, Polybius, foresaw and wrote, 
``when one part, having grown out of proportion to the others, aims at 
supremacy and tends to become too dominant * * * none of the three is 
absolute * * *.''
  Our Founding Fathers were eager to relate the American experiment to 
the efforts of the ancient Greeks to establish a balance of powers. 
Such a relationship, it was hoped by the framers, would permit America 
to escape the disintegration of Government that had proven inevitably 
fatal to other political systems throughout history.
  It is the example of the ancient Greeks that we celebrate each March 
25, that and the return of democracy to 
[[Page H3801]] Greece on this day of glory for the Greek people. The 
spirit of democracy and of this day lives on in the defense of the 
principles for which so many of the free world's citizens have given 
their lives.
  Mr. Speaker, today we celebrate together with Greece in order to 
reaffirm the democratic heritage that our two nations share so closely. 
These principles are not uniquely Greek or American, but they are our 
promise to the world--and they form a legacy that we cherish and have a 
responsibility to protect and defend.
  Moving now to another current event of consequence. The Greek-
Orthodox faith faces yet another potentially explosive situation. 
Recently, there have been successive terrorist attempts to desecrate 
and destroy the premise of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the Fanar 
area of Istanbul [Constantinople], in Turkey.
  On the night of March 30, 1994, three bombs were discovered in the 
building where the Patriarch--the first among equals in the Orthodox 
Church and the spiritual center for more than 250,000,000 Orthodox 
Christians worldwide--lives.
  Fortunately, the bombs were discovered before any harm was done to 
the Patriarchate. However, since that time, the Patriarchate has 
received no further protection from Turkish officials. Turkish 
officials have also been lackadaisical in investigating who the 
perpetrators are that planted those explosives.
  Therefore, I plan to introduce legislation that would express the 
Sense of the Congress that the United States should use its influence 
with the Turkish Government as a permanent Member of the United Nations 
Security Council to suggest that the Turkish Government ensure the 
proper protection for the Patriarchate and all Orthodox faithful 
residing in Turkey.
  Furthermore, my bill asks the Turkish Government to do everything 
possible to find and punish the perpetrators of any proactive and 
terrorist act against the Patriarchate.
  I would ask all of my colleagues who believe in the first amendment's 
freedom of religion, to sign on to this very important bill of 
particular interest to the more than five million orthodox faithful 
that reside in the United States.
  ``Democracy,'' in the words of the American clergyman Harry Emerson 
Fosdick, ``is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary 
possibilities in ordinary people.'' It calls upon each and every one of 
us to rise above ourselves, to understand that freedom requires 
sacrifices both large and small and to recognize that the common man is 
capable or magnificently uncommon actions.
  The people of Greece in the early years of the last century were 
certainly common, ordinary people who rose to extraordinary, uncommon 
actions. They are to be saluted and thanked again and again.
  Thank you.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. Speaker, I rise before you today to bring to your 
attention to the importance of Greek Independence Day tomorrow, March 
25. Greek Independence Day is an important day in our Nation not only 
to those of the Greek heritage, but to all Americans. This day 
commemorates the unique bond Greeks share in our commitment to 
democracy. The democracy that originated in Greece 2,500 years ago was 
the inspiration of our Founding Fathers when creating our democratic 
system. As James Madison and Alexander Hamilton wrote,

       Among the confederacies of antiquity the most considerable 
     was that of the Grecian republics . . . From the best 
     accounts transmitted of this celebration institution analogy 
     to the present confederation of the American states.

  As Members of Congress, serving in this body born out of Greek 
ideals, Greek Independence Day will be a celebration of our common bond 
to liberty and freedom. To this day my constituents of Greek descent 
are proud of the influence their heritage has had on this country-and 
so am I.
  It is very appropriate as we salute Greece's past that we also salute 
the strong bonds between us in the present and future. Greece and the 
Untied States have developed close ties, as members of both NATO and 
the European Community. Greek civilization is alive; it moves in every 
breath of mind that we breathe; so much of it that none of us in one 
lifetime can absorb it all.
  March 25th marks the 174th anniversary of the revolution which freed 
the Greek people from the Ottoman Empire. Let us continue to celebrate 
the independence of a nation that has contributed so much to our 
country.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in observance of Greek 
Independence Day, commemorated this Sunday, March 25, 1995. I am proud 
to join the millions of people of Greek heritage around the world in 
commemorating the 174th anniversary of the freeing of Greece from the 
Ottoman Empire. I also stand today to express pride in celebrating the 
common bond that links our two peoples together--the commitment to 
democracy and love of freedom.
  As Thomas Jefferson said, ``* * * to the ancient Greeks * * * we are 
all indebted for the light which led ourselves out of Gothic 
darkness.'' For indeed, ancient Greece gave birth to the ideals of 
democracy that guided our Nation. Our Founding Fathers nurtured those 
same ideals to build stable democratic society founded on justice and 
equality. In turn, the United States provided inspiration to Greece 
during its own valiant struggle for freedom in the 1820s. Our 
Declaration of Independence served as a model for Greece's own 
Declaration of Independence.
  Greece is a valued member of the international community, of NATO and 
of the European Union. It is one of only three nations, beyond the 
former British Empire, in the world that has supported the United 
States in every major international conflict in this century. Over 
600,000 Greeks died fighting on the side of the Allies in World War II. 
We remember them today for their valiant struggle against fascism and 
their later battle against communist expansion.
  Today, as the tragedy in the Balkan region continues, it is important 
that the United States and Greece take that same cooperative action 
they took to defend the world from the enemies of freedom and democracy 
50 years ago. Once again, our two countries must work together, this 
time, to end the violence in the former Yugoslavia and promote lasting 
peace.
  On this historic Greek Independence Day, I urge you, my colleagues, 
to join me in paying tribute to the contributions of individuals of 
Greek heritage to the American cultural mosaic and to the world. Let us 
celebrate the success of our past efforts together and ensure that they 
will continue well into the future.
  Mr. PORTER. Mr. Speaker, as many of my colleagues know, I feel very 
strongly that, in the wake of the cold war, the United States must 
remain engaged overseas and exercise our new status as the only 
remaining superpower to promote our values of democracy, human rights, 
rule of law, and free markets to the far corners of the globe. As 
telecommunications and transportation systems grow faster and cheaper 
and international trade becomes more and more important in our economy, 
it becomes increasingly evident that our Nation has strong interests 
overseas that need to be addressed and nurtured rather than ignored.
  In this period when our former rival, the Soviet Union, lies 
shattered into pieces and greatly weakened militarily and economically, 
it is easy to be tempted to forget the importance of our close allies 
around the world and take for granted our good relations with 
traditionally friendly nations. During World War II and the darkest 
days of the cold war, some nations stood side by side with the U.S. 
against the forces of totalitarianism.
  Greece is one of these nations. Greece and the United States have had 
excellent diplomatic relations for over 150 years and, as others have 
mentioned here today, Greece is one of only three nations allied with 
the U.S. in every major conflict in the 20th century. The people of 
Greece and the United States also share many values in common. As 
nearly every Member in this Chamber knows, Greek-Americans are a 
vibrant and integral part of the American fabric who are active role 
models in their communities.
  I join with my colleagues in celebrating the 174th anniversary of the 
independence of Greece from the Ottoman Empire. This day has been 
billed as a ``National Day of Celebration of Greek and American 
Democracy'' and it truly is a celebration of the bond between the two 
nations. During the Greek War for Independence--begun a mere 45 years 
after the American colonists declared independence in Philadelphia--the 
Greek freedom fighters tool inspiration for an understandable source, 
the U.S. Declaration of Independence, which is reported to have been 
circulating freely among the Greek troops. In many ways, the drafting 
of the Declaration of Independence and the emergence of democracy in 
North America in 1776 is a continuation of the process begun in the 
agora at the foot on the acropolis over 2,000 years ago. Both the Greek 
and American societies have, and continue to, draw inspiration and 
strength from each other.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Bilirakis], for 
calling this special order and I am pleased to extend my 
congratulations to the people of Greece and the Greek diaspora. I urge 
all Members to take 
[[Page H3802]] the opportunity to reflect on the history of democracy 
and to also reflect on the future of democracy and America's obligation 
to promote government by the people the world over rather than stepping 
back at this important point.
  Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Speaker, for Greek-Americans and those who 
practice the Greek Orthodox faith, I rise in their honor to join in the 
commemoration of the 174th anniversary of Greek Independence Day.
  Our mutual respect for freedom and liberty for all mankind dates back 
to the late 18th century when our Founding Fathers looked to ancient 
Greece for direction on writing our own Constitution. Benjamin Franklin 
and Thomas Jefferson persuaded a noted Greek scholar, John Paradise, to 
come to the United States for consultation on the political philosophy 
of democracy. Later, the Greeks adopted the American Declaration of 
Independence as their own, sealing a bond which has endured between our 
two Nations ever since.
  Tomorrow, March 25, marks the date when in 1821, the Greek people 
rose against four centuries of Ottoman rule. Under the leadership of 
Alexander Ypsilanti, for 8 years, the Greek people fought valiantly in 
pursuit of freedom and self-rule. In 1827, allied forces finally lent 
support, and in 1829, not only did they defeat the Turkish forces, but 
they also gained recognized independence by the very oppressive power 
they overthrew.
  The Greek people continued their struggle against the threat of 
nondemocratic regimes into the 20th century. At the height of World War 
II, when Nazi forces appeared to soon overrun Europe, the Greek people 
fought courageously on behalf of the rest of the world--at a cost of a 
half a million lives. Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared: ``In 
ancient days it was said that Greeks fight like heroes, now we must say 
that heroes fight like Greeks.''
  During the Truman administration, the United States finally realized 
Greece's unwavering commitment to democracy. President Truman, 
recognizing this commitment, included Greece in his economic and 
military assistance program--the Truman doctrine. And, in 1952, Greece 
joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which was later tested 
when Russia threatened to crush the Acropolis unless Greece abandon the 
alliance. Greece stood firm.
  Mr. Speaker, tomorrow marks Greek's accomplishment as an independent 
Nation and, more importantly, this day symbolizes their continued 
defense of democracy which thought first began in 510 B.C.--in Athens.
  I am grateful for the opportunity to join in observing this very 
important celebration. Tomorrow I will remember where our own 
democratic principles were derived, and I will honor the countless, 
invaluable contributions Greek-Americans brought to this country. The 
more than 700,000 Greeks who have come here, have benefitted us with a 
stronger, civilized and more cultured heritage. Mr. Speaker, I salute 
Greek-Americans for their outstanding achievements.
  Mrs. LOWEY. Mr. Speaker, 174 years ago today, the Greek people began 
their revolution in pursuit of independence from the Ottoman Empire. In 
doing so, just as our Founding Fathers looked to the ancient Greek 
democracy in establishing our own form of government, Greek 
intellectuals translated our own Declaration of Independence and used 
it as their own as they pursued freedom.
  Over the years, Greece and the United States have been close allies. 
In fact, Greece has been allied with the United States in every major 
international conflict in this century. During World War II, fully 9 
percent of the Greek population--over 600,000 dedicated individuals--
fought and died in pursuit of the Allied cause. Likewise, as the Greek 
people fought Communist rebels after that war, the American people were 
committed to their success.
  Our relationship over the years is clear proof of the strength both 
of democracy and of alliances of free peoples. And our ties have added 
immensely to world culture and knowledge. All Americans have benefited 
by the contributions of our Greek-American friends. Thanks to Dr. 
George Papnicolaou, lives have been saved because of the Pap test which 
he developed. Thanks to Dr. George Kotzias, suffers of Parkinson's 
disease have found help in L-dopa. Thanks to Maria Callas, we have all 
been blessed by the beauty of exceptional musical talent. And, thanks 
to many Greek-American leaders, this Nation of ours is a better land 
than it would otherwise have been.
  As we recognize this special occasion, let us all join together in 
support of a strong and secure Greece. Our two democracies have 
nurtured one another at times of stress and our cultures have enriched 
each other in many ways over the years. Today, as in years past, I 
pledge my full effort to maintain the ties which have served both of 
our Nations so well. I urge every American to join in this celebration 
of freedom, democracy and friendship between Greece and our own United 
States.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Greek 
Independence Day, and I wish to thank my colleague from Florida [Mr. 
Bilirakis] for organizing this tribute to the long history of 
friendship and shared values between Greece and America. Indeed, Mr. 
Speaker, it is difficult to imagine what life in America, and 
throughout the Western world, would be like if it hadn't been for the 
genius of the first Western society: Greece. Clearly, our own society 
would be much poorer if it were not for the influences of the many sons 
and daughters of Greece who have come to this country and made such 
lasting contributions in so many fields.
  When our country's founding fathers created our system of government, 
they turned to the ancient Greeks' philosophy of democracy. In a speech 
made well over 2,000 years ago, Pericles stated, ``Our Constitution is 
called a democracy because power is in the hands not of a minority but 
of the whole people.'' This concept is the underlying foundation of our 
Nation's Government.
  Not only did the Greeks provide us with our Government's overarching 
fundamental concepts, but they also helped our Nation battle and 
ultimately defeat communism. Between the years of 1944 and 1949, 
Moscow, along with Communist Yugoslavia, attempted to take over Greece. 
United States support and Greek determination crushed the Communist 
takeover. Had it not been for the defeat of the Communist regime, the 
former Soviet Union would have gained access to and domination of vital 
Middle East oil supplies. Our Greek NATO ally played a critical role in 
ending the Communists' dictatorial reign in Europe.
  The arts and humanities provide one of the most visible areas to 
witness the Greek influence on our society. One only needs to visit a 
museum or art exhibit to discover how ancient Greek art flourishes, 
thousands of years after its creation. If one goes to the theater, one 
can observe how our plays of today borrow heavily from the dramatic 
conventions established so many years ago by the ancient Greeks.
  Mr. Speaker, Greek-Americans have provided substantial contributions 
to our society. In the medical profession, for example, Dr. George 
Kotzias discovered L-dopa to help fight Parkinson's disease, and Dr. 
George Papanicolaou developed the Pap test for cancer. In the world of 
sports, Pete Sampras, a Greek-American tennis champion, has thrilled 
millions of fans the world over with the brilliant, fast-paced play 
that puts him at the very top of the game. But, beyond recognizing the 
celebrities--and there are many, many more--I would like to pay tribute 
to the millions of people of Greek descent who have enriched our 
society with their hard work and commitment to family. They are the 
real heroes, living in every part of our country.
  Mr. Speaker, I am proud to participate in the celebration of Greek 
Independence Day. The Greeks have given much to our society and surely 
must be recognized for their achievements and influences.
  Mr. TORRICELLI. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in celebration of Greek 
Independence Day, which will take place tomorrow, March 25, 1995. Greek 
Independence Day is a national day of celebration of Greek and American 
democracy.
  This day marks the 17th anniversary of the beginning of the 
revolution which freed the Greek people from the Ottoman Empire. The 
Greeks were finally liberated after years of oppressive treatment and 
civil rights violations. Their communities were slowly deteriorating; 
schools and churches were being closed down, and Christian and Jewish 
boys were kidnapped and raised as Moslems to serve the Sultan.
  Greece is one of only three nations in the world allied with the 
United States in every major international conflict this century. 
During the early 1900's, one in every four Greek males between the ages 
of 15 and 45 departed for the United States. Through their 
extraordinary compatibility with the people of America, Greek-Americans 
became very successful in the United States.
  The American Revolution became one of the ideals of the Greeks as 
they fought for their independence in the 1820's. Greek intellectuals 
translated our Declaration of Independence and used it as their own 
declaration. The second generation of Greek-Americans currently rank at 
the top among American ethnic nationalities regarding their median 
educational attainment.
  In 1953, after Greece's post-World War II struggle against the 
Communist rebels, President Dwight D. Eisenhower appropriately said:

       . . . Greece asked no favor except the opportunity to stand 
     for those rights which it believed, and it gave to the world 
     an example of battle, a battle that thrilled the hearts of 
     all free men and free women everywhere.

  Mr. Speaker, as a supporter of issues of concern in the Greek-
American community, I am proud to recognize this population and their 
interests. Greek civilization touches our lives as Americans, and 
enhances the cultural existence of this great Nation.

[[Page H3803]]

  Mr. CRANE. Mr. Speaker, it is, indeed, a pleasure and an honor to 
join in this commemoration of Greek Independence Day: A National Day of 
Celebration of Greek and American Democracy.
  It is fitting that the House of Representatives is the scene for this 
observance, as this Chamber is an arm of the Government which leads the 
world in guaranteeing freedom for its citizens. And, it was ancient 
Greece which really invented democracy--giving to the people the true 
power to govern themselves.
  Saturday, March 25, mark the 174th anniversary of the beginning of 
the revolution that freed the Greek people from the Ottoman Empire. 
What could be more appropriate than for the United States to observe 
that occasion with Greece. It is a time to again rejoice in the 
democratic heritage which links our two nations.
  As our Founding Fathers successfully drew up the Constitution for 
this country--a document which has never been equalled in the over two 
centuries which have passed since its signing--they had a historic 
outline to work from. That outline was provided by the leaders of 
ancient Greece who succeeded in defining and granting freedom to their 
people.
  Our friendship has been linked not only by our democratic 
foundations, but by the blood the soldiers of each country shed as they 
joined to fight common enemies in both World War I and World War II.
  May these two great nations continue their friendship and may their 
citizens continue to enjoy the freedom that has been theirs for almost 
two centuries in the case of Greece, and for over two centuries for our 
own Nation.
  Mr. REED. Mr. Speaker, on March 25, 1821, Greek patriots declared 
their independence from the Ottoman Empire. The 174 years that have 
passed since that important day have tested the Greek people, as the 
whole world has also been tested by those who seek to dominate free men 
and women and crush the human spirit.
  However, throughout the centuries it could always be said that the 
valor, courage, and love of freedom by the Greek people has never 
waned.
  The defense of independence by Greeks has always been a constant in 
the world, but in the years since the Founding of America, another 
truth has emerged in the history of Greek people. * * * and that is the 
special relationship between the United States and Greece.
  There are an estimated 3 million Greek-Americans living in the United 
States today. From the boardroom, to the operating room, from the halls 
of Government to the halls of academia, Greek-Americans have made a 
significant contribution to all aspects of American culture. The 
positive contribution made by Greek-Americans to American society has 
been especially true in my home State of Rhode Island, where a proud 
and prosperous Greek-American community has helped enrich the lives of 
all the citizens of our State.
  In recognition of Greek Independence Day, I wish to extend my deepest 
respect and warmest congratulations to all Greek-Americans and all the 
citizens of Greece.
  Mr. MANTON. Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise today to join my 
colleague, Mr. Bilirakis, in celebrating Greek Independence Day. Today 
we celebrate the lasting tradition of Greek and American friendship and 
democracy.
  Mr. Speaker, March 25, 1995, will mark the 175th anniversary of the 
beginning of the revolution which freed the people of Greece from 
nearly 400 years of the oppressive and suffocating rule of the Ottoman 
Empire. We as Americans, as well as each of the new and older 
democracies of the world, owe much to the country of Greece because of 
their important role in fostering the freedom and democracy we know 
today.
  The relationship between Greece and the United States is one based on 
mutual respect and admiration. The democratic principles used by our 
Founding Fathers to frame our Constitution were born in ancient Greece. 
In turn, our Founding Fathers and the American Revolution served as 
ideals for the Greek people when they began their modern fight for 
independence in the 1820's. The Greeks translated the United States 
Declaration of Independence into their own language so they, too, could 
share the same freedoms of the United States.
  Mr. Speaker, in modern times, the relationship between the Greeks and 
the United States has only grown stronger. Greece is one of only three 
nations in the world that has allied with the United States in every 
major international conflict this century. More than 600,000 Greek 
soldiers died fighting against the Axis Powers in World War II. After 
World War II, the Greek soldiers returned to their homefront to again 
defend their democratic foundation from the threat of Communist rebels. 
Fortunately, democracy prevailed and Greece emerged the strong and 
victorious nation it is today.
  Mr. Speaker, on this occasion commemorating the strong relationship 
between the United States and Greece, I would like to urge my 
colleagues to join me in cosponsoring House Concurrent Resolution 31 
introduced by Congresswoman Maloney. This legislation supports the 
country of Greece in its efforts to bring about peace within the 
neighboring former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
  Mr. Speaker, in honor of Greek Independence Day, I celebrate the 
strong and lasting bond between the people of the United States and 
Greece. I urge my colleagues to join me on this special day in paying 
tribute to the wisdom of the ancient Greeks, the friendship of modern 
Greece, and the important contributions Greek-Americans have made in 
the United States and throughout the world.
  Mr. FAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased as always to rise in support of 
our annual special order in recognition of Greek Independence Day.
  Democracy eluded Greece and its people for nearly 400 years--from the 
fall of Constantinople in 1453, until Greece declared its independence 
in 1821, and finally gained its freedom from the Ottoman empire nearly 
10 years later. Yet, it is in Greece where democracy--the people's 
government--was born. As the poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley declared, ``We 
are all Greeks. Our laws, our literature, our religion, our art, have 
their roots in Greece.'' And as Thomas Jefferson noted, ``* * * to the 
ancient Greeks * * * we are all indebted for the light which led 
ourselves out of Gothic darkness.''
  Greek Independence Day is a tribute to the courage, determination and 
perseverance of the Greek people, and to their love of and commitment 
to freedom and democracy. It is a symbol of the mutual respect and 
shared values between our two countries. On this day we are reminded of 
our own indebtedness to Greece, the birthplace of democracy.
  I commend my colleague, the distinguished gentleman from Florida [Mr. 
Bilirakis], for calling this special order, and I thank my colleagues 
for their involvement.
  Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from 
Florida, Mr. Bilirakis, for calling this special order tonight to 
commemorate Greek Independence Day.
  On Saturday, March 25, we will celebrate Greek Independence Day--a 
national day of celebration of Greek and American democracy. This date 
marks the 174th anniversary of the revolution which ultimately resulted 
in Greece's independence from the shackles of the Ottoman empire.
  On this occasion, it is fitting to reflect on the important bonds 
between our two countries. Just as the writings of Plato and Aristotle 
served to inspire our Founding Fathers during the American Revolution, 
Greek patriots fighting for their independence during the 1820's were 
equally inspired by Jefferson, Madison, and George Washington.
  Greece's contributions in the fields of culture, drama, arts, 
architecture, and philosophy have led the world. In addition, as 
Atlanta prepares for the 1996 Olympiad, we should remember Greece as 
the birthplace of the modern Olympic games.
  In my district of San Francisco, the contributions of the Greek-
American community are a vital part of my city's diverse community. I 
am proud of the Greek community's successful participation in all 
facets of American life.
  Again I thank my colleague, Mr. Bilirakis, for calling this special 
order and join him in recognizing the 174th anniversary of Greek 
Independence Day.
  Mr. BATEMAN. Mr. Speaker, today marks the 174th anniversary of the 
declaration of Greek independence from the Ottoman empire. It is with 
great pleasure that I salute the Greek people and join in the 
celebration and remembrance of this day.
  Ages ago, Greek culture began as Indo-European migrants settled among 
the people of Minoan and Mycenean civilizations. Out of this diversity 
came a dynamic people whose culture has been a bright spark of 
innovation and creativity upon the stage of human history.
  Among its great accomplishments, Greece led the world for more than 
three millennium with its cultural innovation, intellectual pursuits 
and scientific inquiry. From homeric tradition to Alexander, through 
the birth of the Socratic method, Aristotelian logic and countless 
artistic and architectural endeavors, the Greek people have left an 
indelible impression on mankind.
  Of all the contributions Greece made toward the betterment of the 
human race, the most enduring achievement has been democracy. Majority 
rule with full respect for the rights of the minority, indeed the basic 
concept of inherent equality of all people before the law were 
revolutionary concepts in the organizing of society and human 
civilization. From the Greek example, our forefathers chose democracy 
among all other political structures to be the basis of our country. 
Inspired by our success, the patriots of 19th century Greece looked to 
our constitution as they created their 
[[Page H3804]] own and declared independence from the Ottoman empire in 
1821.
  Our two countries share in embracing and nurturing an idea 
instrumental in bringing freedom and prosperity to mankind. We take 
great pleasure in wishing the Greek people well, and join in their 
celebration on this, the 174th anniversary of their independence and 
freedom.


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