“Officers, NCOs, Soldiers, Seamen, Airmen, National Guards and Civilian Personnel of the Armed Forces,
Today, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Feast of Virgin Mary’s Presentation to the temple; moreover, it constitutes a day of acknowledgement and honour for the Armed Forces, which stirs up historical memory and evokes role models, set by our heroes whose sacrifice sanctified our country’s struggles.
We pay tribute to the fallen, as well as to all those who participated to the Greek Nation’s struggles through the centuries. We honour all those who shed their blood and loved our country, so as to ensure its freedom.
We honour the defenders of our ideals, those who fell at the battlefields and were uplifted to become eternal symbols of patriotism and self-sacrifice.
Thanks to those heroes, golden pages of glory were written, and the Armed Forces, while defending all that is sacred for our Nation, achieved greatness and promoted Greece’s long-standing virtues.
Our thoughts on such a day however turn not only to the heroes who have sacrificed their lives for our country and have delivered the inextinguishable flame of liberty from generation to generation, but also to those who carry on our Nation’s sacred legacy, the Armed Forces.
Women and Men of the Armed Forces,
The Greek people convey their trust and appreciation for your incessant contribution to the Nation, as its vigilant guards on land, sea and air. The consolidation of this image to the Greek people’s conscience underlines your leading role, as to the reassurance and establishment of the necessary security conditions against all foreign threats.
Greece traditionally encourages the promotion of friendship, good neighbouring and cooperation relations in our region, as well as in the broader area of the south-eastern Mediterranean, where instability prevails. Unfortunately, these values are not also embraced by all the countries in the region, resulting to an effort to contest our internationally established national rights, thus endangering peace and stability.
For all these reasons, we should not relax in our vigilance. We should be alert and soberly, yet decisively, convey on a daily basis the message that our national sovereignty is not negotiable; that not even one millimetre of Greek territory will be ceded.
Beyond your main mission, I would also like to congratulate you upon the extent of your social contribution, which is immeasurable, providing relief to the central state mechanism, as well as to local communities, particularly to our borderline regions, thus uplifting the frontiersmen morale.
Moreover, within the Euroatlantic defence and security structures, your contribution to international stability and security promotes and upgrades our country’s prestige at international level, since through your constant success, you gain positive remarks and applauses by our partners.
Women and Men of the Armed Forces,
This year, which was declared “Year of Personnel’s Welfare”, in cooperation with the military leadership, we carried on with a series of activities which support and facilitate everyday life for both you and your families, and restore the injustices of the past, so as to look forward to a better future for the entire military and civilian personnel and our conscripts.
For the year to come, we shall intensify the effort for the Armed Forces’ contribution to society and the citizens; this constitutes a crucial element to social coherence, as you consolidate the possibility for the Greek people to progress untrammelled and head towards the future, with security and optimism.
I invite you to keep on defending our Country and our Nation with high morale, so that we will all face the challenges posed by our times.
As we respectfully kneel before our fallen heroes and our War Flags, bearing in mind Constantine Paleologos’ phrase: “… we all decided to die willingly for our salvation”, having Virgin Mary as the protector and leader in our lives, I wish you all many happy returns, health and happiness to your families.
Long live the Nation.
Long live the Armed Forces.