Greece on Tuesday honored all who selflessly sacrificed their lives in the 1941 Battle of Crete against the invading Nazi forces at a ceremony at the Maleme Airport near Chania.
National Defense Minister Evangelos Apostolakis lauded the memory of all those who “gave us the privilege of walking on sacred land and living free.”
“Our obligation is not limited to preserving their memory,” Apostolakis said of the Greek and foreign fighters during World War II on Crete, “but to fighting together as Greeks for the peace and security of the country and for a homeland with a future worthy of it.”
In his message, the defense minister said that Greece is a conduit for communication between countries in the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean, especially during challenging times with Turkey’s provocations, and that it must focus on peace and stability.
Crete Regional Director Stavros Arnaoutakis said the Battle of Crete, “with its unprecedented popular resistance, is considered by historians one of the most important events of World War II.
“The struggles, the stubbornness of Cretans in fighting for freedom and democracy, set the course of the war, since – despite the invaders’ different expectations – the Battle was long and the select German forces underwent great hardship and significant losses by allied powers, who resisted and overturned Hitler’s plans,” he added.
Commemorative events included a memorial service at the airport and the laying of wreaths. A group of twenty-four men from Greece’s First Squadron of Parachute Corps performed a drop from 1,200 feet, and this was followed by Hellenic Air Force officer Andreas Volakakis performing vertical maneuvers with an F-16 fighter jet.
On May 20th, 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Greek island of Crete with what remained in history as the largest airbourne operation of WWII. The Cretan response contributed greatly to the outcome of the war. Full story: https://bit.ly/2VwULbO
Posted by Greek Reporter on Friday, May 17, 2019