|Join Our Mailing List|
THE PRIDE OF OXI
The magnificent Greek holiday Oxi Day is celebrated every year in Greece on October 28th and is commemorates General Ioannis Metaxas' strong reply of 'OXI' (no) to Mussolini's request to allow Italian troops to come into Greece at the beginning of WW II. The result of this stern message was powerful and helped alter the course of the war by delaying the Fascist advance into the Balkans. Despite Greece's valor, the Italians did finally invade Greece but only with the assistance of the Germany's Panzer divisions.
The story begins in 1935, when King George II was restored to the Greek throne by a rigged plebiscite, where he made the right-wing general Ioannis Metaxas prime minister. Nine months later, Metaxas assumed dictatorial powers with the king's consent under the pretext of preventing a communist-inspired republican coup. The October 28 national holiday also marks the date in 1940 when Greece entered WWII.
On that cherished day in Greek history, Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas not only rejected Italy's ultimatum, he chose the road of resistance, and thus saved his reputation as a dictator. Cypriot countrymen also drew inspiration from Greece's refusal to let Italian troops invade in 1940 in the face of continued Turkish aggression. For that matter, parades are also staged by Greek communities around the world in celebration of Oxi Day.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios states, "This example of poise under pressure is one of the finest treasures of the Hellenic heritage and is at the heart of the legacy of "OXI Day." There can be no doubt about it--the people of Greece on October 28, 4940 chose the harder path, the path of resistance. Had they opened the gates to the invaders, much bloodshed and many deprivations would have been avoided. That brave generation of Hellenes, though, refused to submit to oppression, even at the cost of their homes, their land, and their lives. Theirs was an act of self-sacrifice that clearly proclaimed the humanitarian ideals of their Orthodox Christian faith and their ethnic heritage. Not only so, but by delaying the Axis onslaught in the Balkan Peninsula, the Greek nation which said "OXI" contributed to the eventual downfall of the Fascist powers in Europe. They chose to fight and even to die so that their children and the children of other nations might live in liberty."
Today in Greece,
celebrations of 'OXI' Day culminate in large, lavish military parades
down the main boulevards of Athens and Thessoloniki. Soldiers, tanks,
armored vehicles and students parade through most Greek cities with an
air of pride, and politicians in reviewing stands have an opportunity
to show their own spirit to Greece and the resistance and how in future
generations it should it should be continued. For tourists and foreigners,
it's a proud spectacle to behold. In America, our Greek Education students
don their Greek costumes and recite epic poems describing the bravery
and the commitment of our forefathers to protect their inalienable right