The Minister of National Defence Evangelos Apostolakis represented the government, on Thursday 30 May 2019, at the honorary and memorial event for Captain Konstantinos Iliakis in Karpathos, where he laid a wreath and made an address.
The Chief of HNDGS General Christos Christodoulou, the Chief of HNGS Vice Admiral Nikolaos Tsounis and the Chief of HAFGS Lieutenant General Georgios Blioumis also attended the event along with delegations of the Armed and Security Forces, representatives of civilian and religious authorities and numerous other people.
You can read the address of the Minister of National Defence below:
“We are here today, deeply moved, to pay homage and demonstrate our respect to the hero Lieutenant General Konstantinos Iliakis, who fell on the line of duty.
We came, with a sentiment of heartfelt awe and pride, to honour the memory of the heroic Officer, who stayed true to his vow and faithful to the homeland’s calling, while executing as a Captain his mission over the southeastern Aegean, on 23 May 2006.
Having myself made that vow too and having a personal point of view and experience from the daily struggle fought by the members of our Armed Forces on land, at sea and in the air, in order to execute their difficult mission, I tell you this:
The Hellenic Armed Forces carry out this mission in full, with high national conscience and decisiveness.
That is what Kostas did that day.
He executed his mission, sending once more the message that the Hellenic Armed Forces will never allow anyone to question our sovereign rights.
He executed his duty with self-sacrifice and self-denial.
After all, love and self-sacrifice for our homeland were always our national asset. The Greeks in their long and tumultuous history, have demonstrated and proved with deeds that the homeland has the supreme value and it is the highest ideal because it is the “most honourable, most decent and most holy”.
Likewise, Kostas’ ultimate sacrifice is an outright testament of what it means to serve your homeland until your last drop of blood. It gives meaning to the grandeur of the Greek soul and the self-denial of the Greeks, for the sake of safeguarding our everlasting ideals of the homeland and the Nation.
His name is a symbol of heroism and daring which will never fade away. It is an immortal paradigm of courageousness and Cretan stoutness.
Kostas Iliakis served with valence, throughout his career, values and ideals, having the love for the homeland and the Hellenic Air Force deeply rooted inside him.
At the same time, his contribution constitutes a current and sonorous message of powerful volition and decisiveness, sent daily by the members of our Armed Forces to any direction.
Without doubt and without any forthcoming compensation. Being fully aware of the danger, they always remain faithful to the duty of safeguarding our country like the heroes of Thermopylae. They faithfully and devotedly defend the homeland.
The Armed Forces stand daily in readiness and hold the flag of deterrence high, as well as that of might and pride. Here in Karpathos, from Ormenio to Gavdos and from Othonoi to Kastelorizo. They are everywhere, in Greece and abroad. On land, at sea and in the air. They always stand ready and on the look-out 24/7.
Especially the inhabitants of remote and hard to reach islands, like you here in Karpathos, know very well that the Armed Forces stand by your side, guaranteeing security, national sovereignty, national independence and territorial integrity.
The fact that you are with us today, like every year, constitutes a solid proof of the relationship of mutual trust and love developed between the Armed Forces and all of you, the borderers and all the other Greek citizens. It is the virtual acknowledgement of the altruistic contribution of the Armed Forces.
I wish to address the family of the heroic Officer,
I understand that the absence of your beloved Kostas cannot be compensated, no matter the number of passing years.
However, I feel obligated to tell you that you should be very proud, like all of us, for the path he carved and his contribution to our homeland.
His sacrifice is a guide for us all, a moral and holy inheritance. An inheritance left to us and the whole nation. An inheritance incomparable and unsurpassable. Values tested through time, which give life to the conscience of our historic continuity and steel our will forever, so as to face any challenges and move forward.
I assure you that the Greek people and the Hellenic Armed Forces will never forget the hero Kostas Iliakis and his self-sacrifice, like all the other heroes who fell on the line of duty.
The Ministry of National Defence is by your side.
The Armed Forces are your family.
Being fully aware of our historic duty, we respectfully bow to the memory of the heroic aviator and we honour his sacrifice.
However, our obligation is not limited just to the preservation of their memory. We all have a national and moral obligation to strive and fight for peace, security and the Country’s integrity, but also for a homeland with a deserving future, so that Kostas Iliakis’ sacrifice will acquire even greater value.
And we honour that obligation.
He will never be forgotten!!