Greek-American congressmen and Hellenic Caucus members Chris Pappas, John Sarbanes and Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), introduced a resolution earlier this week calling for October 28 to be recognized as “Ochi” Day in the United States, in commemoration of Greece’s entry into World War II in 1940 after refusing to surrender to the Axis forces.
A national holiday in Greece, “Ochi” or “No” Day marks prime minister Ioannis Metaxas’ response to an Italian ultimatum demanding that Axis forces be allowed to occupy strategic locations in the country.
“On October 28, 1940 our Greek allies demonstrated unprecedented spirit and courage, changing the trajectory of history,” Pappas said in a press release announcing the October 22 introduction of the resolution. “Decades later we continue to celebrate Greece’s spirited refusal to bow to the Axis powers and the fascist values they espoused. As a member of the Hellenic Caucus, I am proud to lead this resolution that allows us to stand with our Greek allies and celebrate our shared democratic values.”
“I’m proud to join my colleagues in the Hellenic Caucus today as we pay tribute to the heroism of the Greek people, who – with a defiant ‘Oxi!’ – rose up against bigotry, hate, and oppression 77 years ago and fiercely resisted the Axis invasion,” said Sarbanes. “The example they set, then and now, serves as a beacon of hope for freedom and democracy across the entire world.”
“As a proud Greek American, I am honored to help commemorate the importance of Ochi Day and Greece’s significant role in the defeat of Nazi Germany. This historic day celebrates the internal fortitude and relentless spirit of Hellenes, as well as our principled commitment to stand up against injustice and tyranny, regardless of the circumstances,” Bilirakis said in the same press release. “We must never let future generations forget our rich cultural heritage which defines who we are as a people and helps guide our path forward.”