The AHEPAN - Winter 2009 - (Page 12)

AHEPA SPECIAL REPORT GREEK INDEPENDENCE DAY ahepa Seeks an inclusive alternative to Greek independence celebration in Washington AHEPA’s Position Receives Support from Peer Organizations, Community Leaders by basil mossaidis, executive director S ince 1922 AHEPA has played a proud and significant role in shaping the landscape for all Americans of Greek heritage. It has served as a vital vehicle for the progressive development and emergence of Greek-Americans into every facet of society: government, commerce, education, and the arts and sciences. But what has made AHEPA successful and unique is that it is an organization woven deeply into the fabric of America. It is an integral piece of the immense and beautiful mosaic that is America, having been cited as one of America’s “thousand points of light” by President George H.W. Bush. It has enthusiastically embraced Philhellenes and joined with organizations such as the NAACP and B’nai B’rith International to fight discrimination and champion civil rights so that our society is all-encompassing. “This is why over its history AHEPA has had Presidents, Vice Presidents, members of Congress, state and local government officials, and ambassadors as members of the organization,” said Supreme President Ike Gulas. “AHEPA is a nonpartisan, non-sectarian, secular organization, allowing it to outreach to different facets of society, bringing them together, to benefit its mission which today is to promote Hellenic ideals through community service and volunteerism.” Hence, AHEPA is a steadfast champion of promoting Hellenic ideals while maintaining a strong American fervor. Its ability to serve as this bridge is the reason it did not fade away in the early 20th century as other Greek American organizations did. And it is why AHEPA will be a relevant and contributing presence over the next 87 years. For these and many more reasons, AHEPA has been invited to the White House to meet with many presidents of the United States to discuss the issues of the day, dating back to President Calvin Coolidge who received the first delegation of Greek Americans in 1928. From this time, AHEPA built a strong, visible profile in Washington whether it was in the form of a roundtable meeting with President Gerald Ford, who was an Ahepan; an Oval Office visit with President Lyndon Johnson, or a speech by President Jimmy Carter delivered to an audience of 1,000 Greek Americans at an AHEPA Congressional Banquet. However, never were these meetings more prevalent or significant than during World War II and in the years following the war. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman were Ahepans. In fact, Brother Roosevelt recognized the importance of Greece’s valiant OXI Day stand before the AHEPA Supreme Lodge, in the Oval Office, April 25, 1941: “The heroic struggle of the Greek people to defend their liberties and their homes against the aggression of Germany after they had so signally defeated the Italian attempt at invasion has stirred the hearts and aroused the sympathy of the whole At Left: AHEPA’s leaders gather with President Herbert Hoover. Center: The Supreme Lodge meets with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a fellow Ahepan, who praises Greece’s valiant efforts during World War II. At Right: The Supreme Lodge shares a book on Greece with President Harry S. Truman, who became an Ahepan on March 25, 1946. 12 the ahepan Winter 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The AHEPAN - Winter 2009

The AHEPAN - Winter 2009
Presidents’ Messages
AHEPA Family News
Book Review
Special Report: Greek Independence Day
The 87th Supreme Convention in Magestic San Francisco
Ahepan on the Rise in South Carolina’s Executive Branch
Liberty Ship Arrives In Athens; Will Serve as a Floating Museum
Civic Responsibility
AHEPA Athletic 2009 Calendar
AHEPA Family Chapter News
In Memoriam

The AHEPAN - Winter 2009