March 24, 2023

Van Hollen, Menendez, Barrasso Introduce Resolution Honoring Anniversary of Greek Independence

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) in introducing a bipartisan resolution to commemorate the 202nd anniversary of Greek Independence Day (March 25). In addition to celebrating Greece’s historic role as the birthplace of democracy and its immense contributions to global society, the bipartisan resolution also recognizes the strength of the United States’ enduring partnership and friendship with Greece.

Also joining Senators Van Hollen, Menendez and Barrasso in cosponsoring the resolution were Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey Jr. (D-Penn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), and John Fetterman (D-Penn.). 

A copy of the resolution is available HERE and below.

Recognizing the 202nd anniversary of the independence of Greece and celebrating democracy in Greece and the United States.

Whereas the people of ancient Greece developed the concept of democracy, in which the supreme power to govern was vested in the people;

Whereas the founding fathers of the United States, many of whom read Greek political philosophy in the original Greek language, drew heavily on the political experience and philosophy of ancient Greece in forming the representative democracy of the United States;

Whereas Petros Mavromichalis, the former Commander in Chief of Greece and a founder of the modern Greek state, said to the citizens of the United States in 1821, ‘‘It is in your land that liberty has fixed her abode and. . . in imitating you, we shall imitate our ancestors and be thought worthy of them if we succeed in resembling you.’’;

Whereas, in an October 21, 1823, letter to Greek scholar Adamantios Koraes discussing the ongoing Greek struggle for independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote that ‘‘[n]o people sympathise more feelingly than ours with the sufferings of your countrymen, none offer more sincere and ardent prayers to heaven for their success’’;

Whereas, on January 19, 1824, in a speech in support of his resolution to send an American envoy to Greece amid its struggle for independence, then-Congressman Daniel Webster recognized ‘‘the struggle of an interesting and gallant people...contending against fearful odds, for being, and for the common privilege of human nature’’;

Whereas individual American Philhellenes, including future abolitionist Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, future abolitionist Jonathan Peckham Miller, and George Jarvis, traveled to Greece to fight alongside and provide aid to the Greek people in their struggle for independence;

Whereas the people of the United States generously sent humanitarian assistance to the people of Greece during their struggle for independence, often through philhellene committees;

Whereas Greece heroically resisted Axis forces at a crucial moment in World War II, forcing Adolf Hitler to change his timeline and delaying the attack on Russia;

Whereas Winston Churchill said that ‘‘if there had not been the virtue and courage of the Greeks, we do not know which the outcome of World War II would have been’’ and ‘‘no longer will we say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like Greeks’’;

Whereas hundreds of thousands of Greeks were killed during World War II;

Whereas Greece consistently allied with the United States in major international conflicts throughout its history as a modern state;

Whereas the United States has demonstrated its support for the trilateral partnership of Greece, Israel, and Cyprus by enacting into law the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 (title II of division J of Public Law 116–94) and through joint engagement with Greece, Israel, and Cyprus in the ‘‘3+1’’ format;

Whereas this support was bolstered in the United States-Greece Defense and Interparliamentary Partnership Act of 2021 (subtitle B of title XIII of Public Law 117–81), establishing a 3+1 Interparliamentary Group to discuss the expansion of co-operation in other areas of common concern;

Whereas the United States and Greece’s commitment to security cooperation led to the conclusion of a Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement, which was updated in 2021, in order to enhance defense ties between the two countries and promote stability in the broader region;

Whereas the ongoing United States-Greece Strategic Dialogue reflects Greece’s importance to the United States as a geostrategic partner, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean and Balkans, and as an important NATO ally;

Whereas Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Greece in February 2023, for the fourth United States-Greece Strategic Dialogue and along with the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias reaffirmed the importance of the United States-Greece relationship and pledged to continue and increase cooperation based on shared values and interests;

Whereas Greece and the United States have joined their democratic allies in standing in support of Ukraine following Russia’s unprovoked invasion and in December 2022, Foreign Minister of Greece Nikos Dendias said Greece’s ‘‘support towards the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Ukraine is principled and unwavering’’;

Whereas the Government and people of Greece actively participate in peacekeeping and peace-building operations conducted by international organizations, including the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the European Union, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe;

Whereas Greece remains an integral part of the European Union;

Whereas the Greek-American community has greatly contributed to American society and has helped forge the strong ties between the United States and Greece;

Whereas the Governments and people of Greece and the United States are at the forefront of efforts to advance freedom, democracy, peace, stability, and human rights;

Whereas those efforts and similar ideals have forged a close bond between the peoples of Greece and the United States; and

Whereas it is proper and desirable for the United States to celebrate March 25, 2023, Greek Independence Day, with the people of Greece and to reaffirm the democratic principles from which those two great countries were founded:

Now, therefore, be it

ResolvedThat the Senate—
(1) extends sincere congratulations and best 
wishes to the people of Greece as they celebrate the 202nd anniversary of the independence of Greece;

(2) expresses support for the principles of democratic governance to which the people of Greece are committed;

(3) commends the Greek-American community for its contributions to the United States and its role as a bridge between the two countries;

(4) notes the important role that Greece has played in the wider European region and in the community of nations since gaining its independence 202 years ago; and

(5) commends Greece’s support for the people of Ukraine in their fight for freedom against Russian aggression.