Laval marks 202nd anniversary of Greek emancipation at War Cenotaph
Martin C. Barry /
Martin C. Barry
Elected officials from three levels of government in the Laval region gathered at the war cenotaph near Laval city hall on March 25 to pay respects alongside residents of Hellenic origin to Greek veterans and soldiers on the occasion of the 202nd anniversary of Greece’s independence.
On March 25 in the year 1821 in what was then Ottoman-dominated Greece, Bishop Germanos of the metropolis of Patras blessed a Greek flag and proclaimed an uprising by the Greeks against the occupying Ottomans. In the Montreal region, Laval currently has the highest concentration of residents of Greek heritage.
All proud Greeks
“We are all proud Greeks,” Laval city councillor for Chomedey Aglaia Revelakis said in an interview last week with the Laval News during weekend-long events surrounding the Greek Independence Day.
“You have to remember our history,” she continued. “It’s because of the heroes of 2021 that we were liberated and we’re here today. So, over the years this has become a big tradition that the whole community at large participates in. We all feel Greek, we are Greek, and this is all part of our culture and heritage.”
Proud to be Greek
L’Abord-à-Plouffe city councillor Vasilios Karidogiannis said this year’s independence commemoration was especially meaningful to him since he underwent the process of obtaining official Greek citizenship in the past year. Although his parents were originally from Greece, he was born in the Montreal region.
Laval-Les Îles MP Fayçal El-Khoury said he has always felt especially close to the Greek community since he was baptized in the Greek Orthodox church and a large number of his riding’s constituents are Greek.
A model for the world
Vimy MP Annie Koutrakis, who grew up within a traditional Greek family, said that for her, Greek Independence Day “symbolizes not only freedom for Greeks after 400 plus years of the Ottoman empire, but freedom in the world – especially with what’s going on in the world nowadays.
“Knowing about my history and my roots, my heritage is very important,” she added. “For me, it’s very important to stand up together with the Greek community to say thanks to our forefathers who fought valiantly. It’s very important never to forget.”