Celebrations marking the March 25 anniversary of Greece’s 1821 revolution and the war of independence against Ottoman rule peaked with a grand military parade through the centre of Athens on Saturday, in the presence of President of the Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
Large crowds turned out to watch the parade on Saturday, gathering in Syntagma Square and along its route through central Athens, with warm applause for the members of Greece’s armed forces that paraded in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
As always, the parade was led by war invalids, followed by Red Cross nurses and a platoon of Hellenic Police patrol cars and motorbikes. They were followed by armed forces units, while formations of military and security forces aircraft flew overhead. Highlights of the parade for yet another year were the Evzones presidential guard with their traditional uniforms and the members of the various special forces. Following in precise formations were the military academies of the four branches of the armed and security forces.
The National Militia battalion from the island of Rhodes participated in the parade for the second year, following a decision to make 2017 the “militia and reserve forces’ year and a series of actions aiming to improve their levels of training. Militia from the region of Evros and the Dodecanese islands had previously participated in the parade in 2015.
In addition to President Pavlopoulos, officials observing the parade included Parliament President Nikos Voutsis, Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, MP Dora Bakoyannis representing main opposition New Democracy, the head of the Centrists Union Vassilis Levendis and the leadership of the armed forces, security forces and diplomatic missions in Athens.
Earlier, President Pavlopoulos laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and inspected an honour guard from all three branches of the Armed Forces. The country’s state, political and military leadership had earlier attended a mass led by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos at the Church of St Dionysius the Areopagite.