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National Archives

Public Papers - 1990

Remarks on Signing the Greek Independence Day Proclamation

1990-03-20

Let me just say here -- and one, apologies because we're running a couple of minutes late. But it is a great, great pleasure for me to welcome His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos, friend to everybody in this room, back to the White House, and I'm pleased to see him looking so well. Mr. Ambassador, we're just delighted to have you here, sir. It's most fitting and most appropriate. And to Secretary Derwinski and distinguished Members of Congress that are here with us today and friends of Greece, welcome.

It's my pleasure to just sign this proclamation marking the 169th anniversary of Greek independence in 1821. And I hardly need to tell this row of powerful hitters here about America's ties to Greece. You know the admiration that our Founding Fathers had for ancient Greece. The evidence is there. It's in our own Constitution, and the evidence is there in the letters our Founding Fathers exchanged with one another in charting the course for American democracy. They were all schooled in ancient Greek, and they were all schooled in Greek democracy. And you know, too, the role that so many Americans played in championing the independence of modern Greece in the last century. And this is a time for recalling the roots of our common past and a time for rejoicing in the rebirth of Greek democracy in 1974.

And it's a time, too, for noting the rich contributions so many sons and daughters of Greece -- some of them in this room today -- have made to the success of our own democracy. And as Greeks prepare to go to the polls on April 8th, we join with them in affirming our common devotion to liberty, to democracy, and to independence.

So, now let me sign the proclamation formally designating March 25th, 1990, as Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy.

Note: The President spoke at 11:53 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. The proclamation is listed in Appendix E at the end of this volume.

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