BIRMINGHAM, MI – The Panepriotic Federation of America released the following statement in honor of October 28th, ‘OXI’ Day:
Dear Epirotans and other Hellenic Compatriots,
Once again we celebrate the bravery and heroism of the Hellenes and commemorate the fallen, wounded and imprisoned countrymen and women of ours who fought for freedom.
On October 28,1940, a small country with great poverty, but rich in principles, ideals and ethics did not budge to the bullying of an axis power, a fascist regime that wanted to destroy its independence.
Hellas prevailed, ‘kicked’ fascist Italy ‘in the gut’ and wrote history as the first defeat of an axis power during World War II.
Our beloved Epiros was in the forefront of the battles, nearly all of them taking place in its midst! The Epirotans, foremost the Epirotan women, the women of Pindos, Souli, and Pogoni played the crucial role of supplying the Hellenic forces with ammunition, food, medicines, and anything else needed to defend our country. These women, the mothers, the wives, the sisters who gave their sweat, blood and lives on the wintery mountains of Epiros we should not forget to commemorate today. They are the ones that kept the Hellenic spirit alive on the snow-covered Epirotan mountains. They were not budging from the side of their men, defending their homeland, their families, their culture and civilization.
This victory of ‘David against Goliath’ is what we are celebrating today. It is this victory, which we shall teach to our children and children’s children, a victory that emanated from a thirst for freedom and independence, a victory that describes the Hellenic spirit.
Kalpaki, Elaia-Kalamas, Patoma, Mouka, Arenes, Smolikas, Kastaniani, Kiafa, Samarina, Eptahori, Fourka, Distrato, Vassilitsa… battles in Epiros, battles of 2,000 Hellenic soldiers under Colonel Davakis fighting over 10,000 elite alpinist Italian soldiers members of the “Giulia” division. A ratio of 1 to 5, a ratio that played no role, the events on the Epirotan mountains proving mathematic calculations wrong when you fight Hellenes defending their nation.
The counter attack of the Hellenic forces liberated Korytsa, Premeti, Argyrokastro, Delvino, Aghioi Saranta and numerous other towns and villages of Northern Epiros. Unfortunately, liberty did not last for long, the German Wehrmacht attacking insidiously through Bulgarian territory.
Once again today, I commemorate my grandfather Ioannis, who fought with the 51st Battalion in the battle of Vasilitsa under Colonel Davakis and in the battle of Premeti under General Katsimitros.
As Hellenes, we commemorate our ancestors fighting for our Nation and our Ideals.
As Americans, we commemorate the Hellenic struggle, which consequently lead to the liberation of Europe from the axis powers.
As citizens of the world, we commemorate the Hellenic spirit, which initiated the defeat of fascist and nazi ideologies.
The lessons of ‘OXI’ day are here to stay!
On October 28, 2021, let the present-day aggressors to the east of Hellas be reminded that “Hellenes fight like heroes” and “Heroes fight like Hellenes” when they have to defend their home, their freedom, and their independence!
ΖΗΤΩ Ο ΕΛΛΗΝΙΣΜΟΣ! ΖΗΤΩ ΤΟ ΕΘΝΟΣ!
Ioannis (John) Katsimbaris
President of Panepirotic Federation of America
Michigan, October 28, 2021