US President Donald Trump attended the celebration of the Greek Independence Day at the White House on Monday evening, accompanied by Archbishop Demetrios and an enthusiastic crowd of Greek-Americans, cabinet members, ambassadors and staff.
“Today we commemorate the uprising of the Greek people to regain their independence from a foreign empire,” Trump said, and celebrate “the countless ways Greeks have contributed to America” and have celebrated this country.
Citing the contributions of Greek culture to world history, the American president mentioned Homer and Aristotle and geometry and map-making, among others, and said that Greece is the birthplace of democracy.
Americans of Greek descent have made a lasting impression in everything including sports, Trump said, and he made special mention of Greek-Americans in the audience who had served in the US armed forces.
The American president also highlighted members of the audience for their spirit and faith in America and the American Dream, including a man who started by working at a barbershop and built a successful construction business; a woman who through the Greek Orthodox Church helped feed people and care for the homeless in America by organising more than 20,000 women across the country; and a man who having fled Albania as a child with his family decided to become a Greek Orthodox priest.
“You are a very, very competitive people, and you never quit,” Trump said, adding that Greek immigrants had deepened the bonds of affection and the pride in the American nation.
Following Trump’s brief address, Archbishop Demetrios thanked the president for his continued support and said it was an honor to be in the White House, which symbolized a nation of freedom for all.
The White House’s proclamation on Greek Independence Day, 2019
“Today, our Greek-American partnership is robust and gaining momentum. The inaugural United States‑Greece Strategic Dialogue, held last December, and the United States‑Greece Commercial Dialogue, held last September, highlighted the strength of the bilateral relationship and bolstered confidence in Greece as a regional leader.
We applaud the historic 2019 decision of the Greek Parliament to ratify the Prespa Agreement, which resolved the long-standing naming dispute with North Macedonia. This ratification confirmed Greece’s role as a partner with an abiding commitment to advancing stability, security, and prosperity in the region. Additionally, the 2018 Thessaloniki International Fair forged opportunities for enhanced collaboration in technology, enterprise, and innovation.
Our common vision for a peaceful and prosperous region is particularly evident in our ongoing defense relationship. The rotation of NATO aircraft and equipment through Thessaloniki and Alexandroupoli, the complex bilateral training events, and the availability of Souda Bay for the naval forces of the United States reflect mutually beneficial cooperation to ensure our mutual strength and security.
Our bilateral relationship has also afforded many opportunities to support partnerships and initiatives that address the areas of defense and security, law enforcement and counterterrorism, and energy security and diversification.”