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Over Three Hundred Guests Celebrate AHI's "Congressional Salute To Greek Independence Day"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: JONATHAN CLARKE
April 4, 2000 No. 20/2000 (202) 785-8430

Over Three Hundred Guests Celebrate AHI's "Congressional Salute To Greek Independence Day"

To mark the occasion of the 179th Anniversary of Greek Independence on March 25, 2000, the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) in cooperation with the Congressional Hellenic Caucus hosted "A Congressional Salute to Greek Independence Day" in the Longworth House Office Building.

AHI Chairman James Marketos and Executive Director Nick Larigakis welcomed the guests on behalf of the AHI. Ambassador Alexander Philon of the Hellenic Republic and Ambassador Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis of the Republic of Cyprus also delivered their personal greetings to the assembled audience.

After the greetings, the following members of Congress stepped to the podium to give brief remarks on the occasion of the anniversary: Senator Sarbanes (D-MD), Rep. Berkley (D-NV), Rep. Bilirakis (R-FL), Rep. Gekas (R-PA), Rep. Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-NJ), Steven Rothman (D-NJ), and Rep. Weygrand (D-RI).

Each speaker highlighted the decisive contribution of Hellenism to Western civilization and praised the close U.S. relationship with Greece. There were also a number of calls for U.S. recognition of Greece's sovereign territory in the Aegean and for the removal of Turkish troops from Cyprus.

The Greek American dance troupe, "Return to Origins," provided the emotional highlight of the evening. Dressed in traditional Greek costume, the troupe performed traditional Hellenic dances from the period of the revolution. This was an uplifting moment much savored by the Ambassadors, Senators, Representatives and 250 plus guests. The event was also well attended by congressional staffers, representing over forty members' offices.