On Sunday, 10 February 2019, the Minister of National Defence Evangelos Apostolakis, representing the Government, attended a commemoration event on the anniversary of the bombardment of Akrotiri Insurgents’ Camp and laid a wreath. The commemoration took place at Akrotiri, Chania.
The Minister of National Defence, in his address:
● pointed out the historical importance of the Cretan Revolution of 1897, stressing the self-sacrifice and self-denial of Cretan heroes, who defended the sublime ideal of our country’s freedom.
● underscored the Hellenic Armed Forces’ readiness, in a period of fragile geopolitical balances, stressing, at the same time, the requirement to point out Greece’s role as a pillar of stability and security, in the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans.
This is the address of the Minister of National Defence:
‘It is a great pleasure that I attend this modest ceremony, here, in my birth place.
It is an event that honours the Greek history, the struggles of the nation and the Cretan tradition.
It is an honour to address you, in my capacity as Minister of National Defence and as a representative of the Hellenic Government.
I especially thank the Regional Unit of Chania and the Municipality of Chania, the National Research Foundation “Eleftherios K. Venizelos”, as well as the Municipal Unit and the cultural agencies of Akrotiri, for the invitation.
This is a day of honour and remembrance of our heroes who sacrificed themselves for freedom. It is a day of honour and remembrance of all those who fulfilled the dream of Cretan unification with Greece and of national integration.
Our history has proven that, in order to move forward, Greeks must take a look at history. This is exactly what we are doing today.
The Cretan Revolution of 1897 is a special event for our country’s history, which has become a legend and confirmed the heroism and genuineness of Cretans.
Here, in Akrotiri, Greeks, Cretans, once more, with only a few supplies and equipment, under extremely diverse conditions, stood up against the opponent and claimed the sublime ideal, freedom, gaining the admiration and respect of the opponent.
Those, whom we honour today, were killed in action during the camp’s bombardment, gave their lives through their self-sacrifice and self-denial, remaining devoted to their noble duty of defending our country’s freedom.
The heroism of Spyros Kagialedakis, who replaced with his own body the flagstaff of the insurgents’ Camp that was destroyed by the shells, is another special example of courage and resistance.
The actions of these fighters make us think of our responsibilities and our debt to the country. This is the least tribute to those who fought on their free will and sacrificed their lives for the country.
We are proud of the heroic Cretan fighters, who became a symbol of heroism and self-sacrifice, as well as a reminder of what people can achieve if the circumstances dictate so and the historical duty so commands.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We, the Armed Forces, are invited to show in practice that we are constantly inspired by the same values. We try to be worthy of our ancestors, in a period of fragile balances in Greece’s vital geopolitical region. We try our best to succeed that.
At this point, I would like to assure you that the Armed Forces are and will remain ready to defend our country against any threat, through self-sacrifice, as the heroic Cretan fighters did.
It is our highest priority to project Greece’s role as a stability and security pillar, in the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans.
Besides, this is the reason we exercise active defence diplomacy and we honour our country’s commitments. We have undertaken a key role, with responsibility and determination, regarding the promotion of defence synergies and security initiatives, acting as a “channel” of communication, among countries in the Balkans and in the Eastern Mediterranean.
This responsibility is even bigger at this time, when our country takes initiatives of historical importance, for a future of greater stability and cooperation in the region.
In critical times though, we ought to estimate things, to have sound judgement and determination.
Actions that contribute to the communication and cooperation of countries, also contribute to the development and welfare of the Economy, the Culture, the Sciences and the citizens’ everyday life.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
With this plain ceremony, we honour, as appropriate, all those who added another page to the Greek history, by sacrificing their lives. Our obligation though is not limited to maintaining their memory. It is a national and moral obligation for all of us, by mutual consent, to struggle for peace and for our Country’s security, as well as for a homeland of worthy future, so that their sacrifice has even greater value.
This is what we do.
Their contribution and struggle is a landmark and a useful guide for the present and the future.