“The spirit of national unity forged in the Albanian saga is a precious legacy for all of us,” said the President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, after the conclusion of the military parade in Thessaloniki, and expressed pride in the Armed Forces which, as she said, “with a high sense of responsibility they defend the security and territorial integrity of our homeland”.
“The “OXI” on October 28, 1940 to the fascist invasion and the heroic resistance of our people constitute one of the most glorious pages of our recent history, which we respectfully honoured in today’s parade. The spirit of national unity forged in the Albanian epic is a precious legacy for all of us. We are proud of the country’s Armed Forces, who with a high sense of responsibility defend the security and territorial integrity of our homeland”, noted the President of the Hellenic Republic.
Ms Sakellaropoulou spoke with the commander of the F-16 fighter of the “ZEUS” air show team, Airforce Major Christodoulos Giakoumis, with over 1,600 flight hours, while making spectacular passes and dangerous manoeuvres over the parade ground, on Alexander the Great Avenue, taking the breath away of the citizens who were watching, and their dialogue was heard over the loudspeakers.
“Greek women and men, we look with pride on what the Generation of ’40 achieved in defending the Homeland. We are and will remain ready to do the same. Honour to those who in their lives defined and guarded Thermopylae! Many Years to our Greece and to Hellenism all over the world”, the commentator emphasised and the President of the Republic replied: air force major
“Airforce Major, we honour the heroes who fought and gave their lives in the epic of the 1940s for our freedom. And all of you in the Armed Forces, the vigilant guards, you who ensure our national independence and sovereignty. The country is grateful to you. Many Years and happy landings.”
New military and Air force systems took part in the parade, such as the Marder 1A3 Armoured Combat Vehicles (TOMA), the first of the series that Greece is receiving these days, but also the newly acquired French 4++ Generation Rafale EG and Rafale DG fighter jets.
F-16, Mirage 2000-5 and F-4E Phantom fighters, helicopters in formations, as well as the historic Spitfire MJ 755 fighter made flight over-passes also during the parade.
The parade was attended by motorised units, with weapon systems and latest technology equipment, and infantry units of the Armed Forces and Security Forces.
They were preceded by political departments, students, associations, voluntary groups and other bodies.
The parade was attended by the Minister of National Defence of Greece, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, the Minister of Defense of Cyprus, Charalambos Petridis, the MP Kostas Gioulekas, as a representative of the President of the Parliament, the Deputy Minister of Macedonia and Thrace, Stavros Kalafatis, the vice-president of the Commission, Margaritis Schinas, the leadership of the Armed Forces and the Security Forces, on behalf of SYRIZA-PS MP Dora Avgeris, on behalf of PASOK-KINAL MP Haris Kastanidis, representative of the president of the Hellenic Solution, Kyriakos Velopoulos, the regional governor of Central Macedonia, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, the ambassador of the USA, George Tsounis, the mayor of Thessaloniki, Konstantinos Zervas, His All-Holiness Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki, Members of Pariliament, European Members of Parliament and elected members of the Local Government.
The procession of cars with the President of the Republic stopped at a distance from the official platform and Ms Sakellaropoulou walked this route greeting from afar the citizens who were along Alexander the Great Avenue. In front of the platform, she was welcomed by the leader of The Hellenic National Defence General Staff, General Konstantinos Floros.
The weather conditions were good, and many Thessalonians watched the parade from both sides of Alexander the Great Avenue, while many went out to the new beach to see the demonstration by the F-16 of the “ZEUS” team.