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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

Exerpts of Defence Minister's Mr. Panos Panagiotopoulos speech at the celebration of Saint George's Day, patron Saint of the Army, at the Military School of Infantry at Chalkida

A message of hope that the year 2014 – according to all signs – will be the year when the smile will return on our children's faces was extended by the Minister of National Defence Mr. Panos Panagiotopoulos at his address in the morning during the celebration which took place at the Military School of Infantry at Chalkida, on the occasion of Saint George's Day, patron Saint of the Army.

The Minister of National Defence, in his speech to the Officers, NCOs and soldiers, referred to the difficult times the entire Greek people experience, pointing out that "Greece would not be able to make those steps uphill, in this undeclared financial war, if the Armed forces had not come once more at the frontline, bearing on their shoulders a historic burden, and by that I mean a big part of the sacrifices experienced by the entire Greek people".

For this reason, as Mr. Panagiotopoulos underlined, "the State is absolutely conscious of what is due to the Armed Forces, as far as their part on active duty is concerned, who are the spearhead, but also as far as the retired part is concerned, who are an integral part of the Hellenic Armed Forces' big family, and what is due will be rendered as soon as possible".

The Minister of National Defence also referred to the ideals and traditional values of Hellenism that have as central axis faith to the Nation, the Country and duty, inviting everyone to gather around these values that helped our Nation and our People remain standing through these difficulties of history, during a hard everlasting course. These values –as he stressed out– "do not have political hue, they are not left, right, central, conservative or liberal. They are the values of the Country, the Nation, the Greek People".

The celebration, which was officiated by the Bishop of Chalkida, Istiaia and Northern Sporades Islands Mr. Chrisostomos, was attended by the Deputy Minister of National Defence Mr. Panayiotis Karambelas, the delegate of the Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament and MP of the Prefecture of Euboea Mr. Konstantinos Markopoulos, the delegate of the Official Opposition and MP of the Piraeus and Islands A' Electoral District for the Coalition of the Radical Left - Unitary Social Front Party Mr. Theodoros Dritsas, the delegate of PASOK party, member of the Central Committee Ms. Paraskevi Tsatsani, the delegate of the President of the Democratic Left Party, MP of the Prefecture of Euboea Mr. Dimitrios Anagnostakis, the MP of the Prefecture of Euboea for the Golden Dawn Party Mr. Nikolaos Michos, the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff General Michail Kostarakos, the Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff Lieutenant General Athanassios Tselios, the Chief of the Hellenic Air Force General Staff Lieutenant General (AF) Evaggelos Tournas, the Chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff Vice Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, higher ranking Officers of the Armed Forces and the Security Corps, students of Military Academies of the Armed Forces, delegates of the local administration, retired Armed Forces' Officers, as well as Defence Attachés of foreign Embassies.