Greece on Monday marked the 79th anniversary of the country's entry into WWII on the side of the Allies with the annual military parade through the northern metropolis of Thessaloniki, while a pupils' parade was held in central Athens, in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Parliament.
Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos represented the state at the Thessaloniki parade, while Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was in the Kissamos township of Chania (Hania) prefecture, of western Crete to participate in celebrations there, including a parade by the pupils of area schools. The government in Thessaloniki was represented by the defense minister.
In brief statements to reporters, Mitsotakis pointed to two initiatives by his new center-right government, speaking on the occasion of the pupils' parade, reminding that his administration overturned the previous government's decision name individual schools' flag-bearers via a draw. The tradition of naming the best student in a class or school as the flag-bearer was restored.
He also cited his New Democracy (ND) party's standing pre-election pledge to push through legislation to allow eligible Greek citizens living abroad the right to vote from their place of residence, a framework that will soon find its way to Parliament in the form of a draft bill up for ratification. Two hundred out of the 300 MPs in Parliament must ratify the draft legislation in order to make it law.
Thessaloniki observes a three-day period of commemorations and celebrations, beginning on Oct. 26, the feast day of its patron saint, St. Demetrius (Demetrios) and the anniversary of its liberation from Ottoman rule in 1912.
Greece entered WWII on Oct. 28, 1940 after rejecting an ultimatum by fascist Italy.