Greek Evzones in Pontic costume pay homage to genocide victims
Hundreds of people gathered in Athens’ Syntagma Square on Wednesday to honor the hundreds of thousands of Greeks who died or were displaced from their homes by the Ottomans in the early 20th century during the annual commemoration of the Pontian genocide.
People watched the changing of the guard in front of the monument to the unknown soldier with two evzones dressed in traditional Pontic costume in honor of the memory of the 353,000 victims.
May 19 has been marked as an annual day of remembrance of the Greek genocide since February 24, 1994, when the Hellenic Parliament voted to recognize the genocide.
The Parliament building will also be illuminated with a symbolic image of the Pontic Greeks to honor the memory of those killed in tonight’s genocide.
Many high-ranking Greek politicians made statements on this important day and a special plenary session was held in Parliament to mark the atrocity.
The President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, remembered these Greeks in their remarks today.
“Today we honor the memory of the hundreds of thousands of Pontian Greek victims who were exterminated in an inhuman and heinous manner a century ago.
“At the same time, we recognize the heroic life of the Ponte Greeks who were saved and who contributed the most to the restoration and progress of the homeland, as well as to the economic development and the richness of our cultural identity.”
“The recognition of the genocide was an obvious step and cost little for our country. Preserving historical memory does not leave its importance in the past. It works symbolically and as a deterrent for the future. Today is a vivid and lasting reminder to the entire international community of the great importance of morality, responsibility and forgiveness for the peaceful coexistence of peoples. “
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also tweeted about this important day, saying:
“102 years later, we remember, we fight, we rally. Pontian Hellenism does not forget, it advances. Their lyre will mourn uprooting and their musical bow will sing of hope. And the day of remembrance of the genocide will remain important until it turns into a day of justice.