WHEREAS, On March 25, 1821, the Feast Day of the Annunciation, the Greek nation reclaimed its ancient heritage as the "Cradle of Democracy" by throwing off the yoke of oppression which had enslaved its people since the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Conquered by the Ottoman Turks in the 15th century, Greece waged a successful War of Independence (1821-1829) and reinstituted a democratic form of government; and WHEREAS, It was the genius of Greece which first ignited the flame of freedom in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C., when Athens introduced the idea of direct representative government to the world, thus ushering in a Golden Age of art, architecture, philosophy and drama under such giants of Western history as Pericles, Sophocles, Euripides, Socrates and Plato; and
WHEREAS, A legacy of the Greek democratic ideal is the hope that it has always inspired in oppressed people throughout the history of the world. No matter how onerous and tyrannical a regime may be, the inevitable demise of a regressive dictatorship at the hands of its people has been proven again and again. In the prescient words of Winston Churchill, "Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry."; and
WHEREAS, Of all of the wonderful gifts bestowed upon humanity by Greece -- art, ethics, beauty, literature, philosophy and democracy -- we now celebrate the greatest of these, democracy. A world without political liberty and the freedom of expression would be a world enshrouded in darkness, terror and intellectual sterility. Greece has shown us the light, and we are eternally grateful; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby celebrates March 25, 1997 as the 176th Anniversary of Greek Independence and reaffirms Rhode Island's abiding commitment to the magnificent principles of democracy; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church of Cranston, the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church of Pawtucket and St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church of Newport.