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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 23 May 2015
NEWS 4 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 23 MAY 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Battle of Crete remembered Anniversary events honour duty and sacrifice MICHAEL SWEET Battle of Crete commemorations began in Sydney last weekend, with hundreds gathering at the Cenotaph in Martin Place to remember the price of freedom paid by the Cretan people and their Allied bothers-in-arms during the 1941 campaign. NSW Governor David Hur- ley AC and General Georgios Paraschopoulos of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff joined scores of dignitaries and Anzac families at the 74th anniversary event. Also present were two of the last surviving Anzac Battle of Crete veterans - 98-year-old Sydneysider Alf Carpenter and 102-year-old New Zealander Frank Harlow. In a poignant speech, Governor Hurley said that Australia and Greece had formed a unique relationship in war and peace for more than 100 years, and reminded those present that the only time - other than WWI - that an Anzac Corps had been formed was in April 1941 to fight the Greek Campaign. "We have forged historic and cultural bonds. Essentially, through our service, we have left an Australian footprint in Greece, as Australians of Greek heritage have left an indelible mark on our country," said the governor. "The Anzacs who served in Greece had come from the world's newest democracies to defend the birthplace of democracy - its shared freedoms and democratic values," he added. Nick Andriotakis, secretary of the Joint Committee for the Commemoration of the Battle of Crete, told Neos Kosmos the governor's speech moved many at the event close to tears. "The joint committee endeavours to ensure through this and other events that the bonds and shared values of the Anzacs of Greece and the Greek and Cretan people - forged in their fight against oppression and for freedom and democracy - will always be remembered." The Sydney commemorations included the annual ball, the state launch of the book Battle of Crete - The Untold Stories, church services, and the planting of an olive tree at the Lamia Military Police Barracks in Holds- worthy in honour of the visit by the Hellenic Defence Force. The NSW events conclude tomorrow with a memorial service at 11.00 am at Garrison Church, Millers Point. Meanwhile, this weekend sees the focus of anniversary commemorations turn to Victoria. The official Battle of Crete dinner dance under the auspices of the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand takes place tonight Pancretan president in Crete John Nikolakakis, president of the Pancretan Association of Melbourne, is currently in Chania attending many of the commemorations organised by the Chania Prefecture. "No matter where we are, if we are to be proud Cretans we must be proud and respectful of those who contributed in defending our ancestors' freedom," he said. As the official commemorations began on the island, Mr Nikolakakis at- tended - amongst other Battle of Crete events - a wreath-laying ceremony in memory of Sergeant Ioannis Lazopoulos in the village of Kouloukouthiana. Sergeant Lazopoulos was killed defending his village in the Voukolies area near Maleme while deterring enemy fire by facing them head on - just one of the thousands of individual acts of heroism that marked the brutal battle for Crete in May 1941. in Melbourne. But with tickets sold out, those wishing to experience a uniquely Cretan cultural gathering on this anniversary weekend can attend the lunch in honour of the visiting officers of the Hellenic Defence Force, at the Pancretan Association's Cretan Village at Wantirna South on Sunday. Jim Papadimitriou, president of the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and Victoria, told Neos Kosmos: "We're very keen for people to join us, particularly at the Sunday commemorations at The Shrine and the Australian Hellenic Memorial in Domain Gardens," said Mr Papadimitriou. "We're hoping Anzac veterans and their families will come out in force - along with the Greek community - for what are very special ceremonies." Pancretan Association of Melbourne president John Nikolakakis (L) beside the statue of Sergeant Ioannis Lazopoulos. Sergeant Lazopoulos’ son Giorgos is on the right. Sunday's program begins with a remembrance service at the Greek Orthodox Holy Archdiocesan Cathedral of St Eustathios in South Melbourne at 10.00 am, followed by the parade and wreathlaying ceremony at the Shrine of Remembrance at midday. The ceremony at the Australian Hellenic Memorial starts at 1.00pm. 98-year-old Australian Battle of Crete veteran Alf Carpenter (green blazer), with Kiwi Anzac 102-yearold Frank Harlow (in wheelchair) lay their wreaths. PHOTOS: CON KAMBOURAKIS. Flag bearers from the dance group of the Cretan Association of NSW at the wreath-laying ceremony. His Excellency David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Governor of New South Wales, addresses the crowd. Father Christodoulou, representing His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, Primate Of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, at the Sydney Cenotaph in Martin Place.
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