7th of March is the day of celebration and remembrance for the islands of the Dodecanese, as it marks 74 years since the Integration of the Dodecanese with Greece after seven centuries of slavery.
The Dodecanese, in fact, is the last region to be absorbed into the nation's body following challenges and sacrifices. The celebration of the anniversary, however, due to Shrove Monday, will not take place today but next Sunday, March 13, following a proposal by the South Aegean Region that was accepted by the Ministry of Interior.
In his message for today's anniversary, the governor of the South Aegean, Mr. George Chatzimarkos, states the following: "March 7 is a day of celebration of the Integration of the Dodecanese in his homeland Greece. In 1948, Greece grew with the return of the Dodecanese to it, it grew taller with its expansion to Kastellorizo and Strongyli. The return to the homeland after seven centuries of slavery, without losing the language, the customs, the tradition, shows the wisdom, the inner strength of a people forged by waves. This inner strength, which we mobilize every time we face great challenges to look at them intently and not to bend. The struggles of our ancestors are a legacy and an indicator of progress. Today, through the successive crises we face, we are sending their own message from our islands. At the forefront of the struggle for recovery, security, social cohesion, democracy and freedom.
In the first line of history written in terms of respect for classical and universal values. The new agony, the war in Ukraine, makes up again the constant struggle of our islands for peace, adherence to international law. Islands that stand upright in the successive crises of the period as beacons of history, humanity, culture. Happy Birthday Dodecanese, Happy Birthday Greece ".
Mayor of Rhodes, mr Campourakis stated "We honor the day that Greece grew up! We bow reverently to the struggles and sacrifices of the Dodecanese for freedom! We keep alive the memory of our ancestors who with tears in their eyes saw 74 years ago, the blue and white rising in the mast of the town hall of Rhodes. The dream of generations and generations was finally coming true. The Dodecanese shook from the centuries of slavery and united with Mother Greece. This bright historical landmark, for our history and our lives, condenses a timeless message: The Dodecanese always know who we are and what we can achieve together. We are growing Greece! We have proved it in history. We prove it to the economy and society, with a tourist miracle, which contributes over time to the growth of the country's GDP. This is confirmed by the Dodecanese where land, which are models of effort and progress, recognizing the Greeks and Greece in every part of the world, where there is a Dodecanese community. So honoring our historical past, we know very well that what we owe, is to be all one. This is the great lesson of history, for the present and the future of our place. To be one and to look forward together. This is our strength. The power for our islands. The power for our Rhodes.
This is how we win. This is how we bring results, even in the most adverse and difficult conditions. Especially in today's situation, where the challenges are invisible, our unity and determination are crucial. After the global pandemic adventure, which leaves open wounds, comes a war with huge humanitarian and economic costs, within Europe itself. At the same time, Russia's revision of Ukraine encourages Turkey to question the Greekness of the Aegean and our islands.
From here, Rhodes, the capital of the Dodecanese, honoring our history and having "always open, always vigilant eyes of our soul", at the urging of our national poet, we send with one voice the message, that we are here acrites , who guard the "Thermopylae" of Europe and we continue to grow Greece! We seek peace and cooperation. We believe in progress and democracy. We consider freedom as oxygen, for the development of every human being, without discrimination. And we are determined to defend these values, resolutely against any real or potential threat. Because this is the right side of the story, and we unreservedly agree with it. Our shield is sustainable development. With opportunities and possibilities for everyone. With a sustainable future for our children. In this direction, we work methodically in the Municipality of Rhodes, in collaboration with the South Aegean Region, the central administration and the government. The fruits are visible, on many levels. From the launch of the rebirth of the National Theater of Rhodes, which was a debt in our history, to the successful response to the pandemic, the restart of the local economy and the good results in tourism.
Of course, war creates new challenges. That is why we are intensifying our efforts and we have the certainty that we can overcome all obstacles together. Utilizing every available resource, every existing or new financial instrument, as well as the great national success of the ECOFIN decision, last December, paves the way for the reduction of VAT in our islands. Extraordinary conditions require brave and courageous decisions that will support the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of the Rhodians, in order to create the maximum possible benefits, for all and especially for the new generation. To belong to the winners of the new era, which opens before us, and to have the future on their side, the next generations of our place. To make the flag of Greece, always wave proudly! "