IS THE SHRINE A SYMBOL OF MANKINDS
SACRIFICE - FREEDOM OR A PARTHENON? Journal 20 January 2022
FREEDOM COMES AT A PRICE.
"O Stranger, whoever you
may be and where ever you may have come from. We know, you
will, one day come. Let it be known that upon this land, all
memories of a bygone era meet together as companions. Do not
therefore begrudge us this small plot of earth that represents
those who gave their all. Return back home a friend. Tell your
people of us and of the memories we embrace" Lest we forget.
“Ω ξένε, όποιος κι αν είσαι, απ’ όπου
κι αν έχεις έρθει. Γνωρίζουμε, πως κάποια μέρα θα έρθεις. Ας
γίνει γνωστό, ότι σε αυτό τον τόπο, όλες οι αναμνήσεις μιας
περασμένης εποχής, συναντιούνται σαν γνώριμοι. Επομένως, μην
δείχνετε μνησικακία για αυτό το μικρό σημείο της γης, που
αντιπροσωπεύει εκείνους, οι οποίοι έδωσαν τα πάντα. Επέστρεψε
πίσω ως φίλος. Πες στους δικούς σου για εμάς και για τις
αναμνήσεις που αγκαλιάζουμε." ΔΕΝ ΞΕΧΝΩ
KIWI WAR CRY. Kia mate a ururoa Kaua hei
mate a tarakihi. Fight like the Ururoa, fight to the death".
I have written this article as a
result of the Shrine Trustees decision to ban Aussie Greeks
parading within the Shrine grounds on the Greek war of
Independence. This is my point of view. I understand that not
everyone will agree with me and yet, I feel strongly about it.
The Shrine in Melbourne means much to me as
it does to many other Australians. Even more so to Australians
who have this great country of ours their own. Whenever I
visit, read, chat about or drive past it, I do not dwell on
the negative aspects of war, battles, destruction, misery,
death. Being the eternal optimist, I am immediately
overwhelmed by thoughts of compassion, mateship, love,
courage, family, ANZACS, dreams, freedom, memories, respect,
bravery, sacrifice, destiny, joy, laughter, sadness and
Despite what people may believe, the Shrine
is not hallowed ground nor is it meant to be a place where
restrictions are enforced. Nor is the Shrine a barrier to
people expressing their love of freedom from those intent on
remembering the ultimate sacrifices made by mankind. As an
Australian veteran born in a village (Pellana, Sparta, Laconia
Greece) known for its warrior values of a bygone era; I take
umbrage at those who believe that the Shrine is only for those
who fought for Australia alone.
There are many Australians and New
Zealanders who lie buried in military cemeteries in Greece.
Each one of these cemeteries are carefully looked after and
veterans and loved ones who visit know that their kin are
sleeping undisturbed and loved greatly by the Greek people.
The Shrine to me is always a reminder that freedom comes at a
price and that the Shrine is a symbol for freedom from
tyrannical forces. As a Greek born lad who was raised in
Australia and embraced Australian values, does not mean that I
follow blindly the will of others who have a skewed idea of
what the Shrine stands for.
I can understand the emotions that
the Shrine can evoke, such personal emotions that will choke a
person and bring them to tears. This is more so for those who
have lost sons, uncles, brothers, fathers and grandfathers to
war. They have the right to feel emotional and that Shrine
represents the lives lost on some distant battlefield.
Today, we the people are subjected to misinformation,
fake news, vile gossip, misrepresentations and political dogma
that we fail to see the reasons why we become unreasonable to
the plight of others. There are millions (yes millions) of
Australians who arrived on the shores of this great land and
contributed to its prosperity way of life, economy, security,
longevity, stability and democratic principles of governance.
Those Aussies of Greek background who
made Australia home, did so because they wanted to escape the
horrors of war and sought a better quality of life for their
children. Freedom meant much to the Aussie Greeks, especially
for those who arrived in Melbourne. There were pleasantly
surprised and amazed that Australia had its own Shrine that
resembled the Parthenon in Athens Greece. They felt that
Australians had emulated the Greeks by honouring their dead.
As such the Shrine instantly became a symbol
symbiotic with the Aussie Greeks love of freedom. A freedom
that was borne out of great hardship, tenacity, courage and
sacrifice during the Greek War of Independence. Thus, it was
natural that on each day the War of Independence was
commemorated that Aussie Greeks would descend upon the Shrine.
Aussie veterans who fought in Greece marching proudly beside
their Aussie Greek veterans and friends while their relatives
looked on, watching a parade a new generation of Australians
marching past the Shrine in an orderly fashion.
This year being 2022 the Shrine Trustees whoever they may be,
for whatever reason made the decision to disallow the Aussie
Greeks to commemorate the Greek War of Independence by
parading at the Shrine. I believe that their decision for
whatever reasons they gave are not valid and veterans who have
paid the ultimate sacrifice would be turning in their graves.
I for one would ask the Shrine Trustees to review their
decision and reconsider their decision and allow the Aussie
Greeks to commemorate their War of Independence. What better
way of demonstrating courage in the face of adversity. Aussie
and Greek veterans such as Bruce Ruxton, John Deighton and
Keith Rossis, John Anagnostou, Spiros Korosidis, Michael Lidis
and others would be turning in their graves. These men knew
what the Shrine meant to the Aussie Greeks and allowed them to
march proudly to the Shrine. Sadly, times have changed and
those now in the halls of power make decisions detrimental to
the longevity of this nation.
In 2017, a band of Australian veterans from
all over Australia created a Hellenic Memorial to ANZACS in my
place of birth, Pellana, Greece. They did so to pay homage to
those who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the Battles of
mainland Greece and on the Greek island of Crete during WW2.
This year all the names of the Australian and New Zealanders
who died fighting the Nazi terror will be etched onto the
marbles already in place. The memorial aptly named HANZAC is a
tribute to mankind who fought and died for freedom, a freedom
we take for granted.
HANZAC GUARDIANS. The HANZAC
Guardians from Australia and Greece are as follows: THANASIS
DAVAKIS - PATRON GREECE, JIM HAMMETT - PATRON AUSTRALIA, PETER
ADAMIS - CHAIRMAN, GEZA BENKE - SECRETARY, MAURICE BARWICK -
TREASURER, STEFANOS SGOURDAS - MARATHON COORDINATOR, KOSTAS
MIHALOPOULOS - ASSETS MANAGER, DR. AZHAR KHAN, BARRIE DANIEL,
BARRY ZIEBELL, BILL CHARLTON, BILL PAPASTERGIADIS, CHRIS
GLEKAS, CHRISTINE ETHEL, COLIN GOODWIN, CONRAD ADAMIS, CRAIG
YOULL, DAVID ADAMIS, DENNIS GEORGE, DIMITRI MALIAROS, DIMITRI
VAROUTSIOS, DONALD NORMAN (D), DOUGLAS LUIK, EDWARD BLACK,
EDWARD BRYSON, ELENI VLAHOGIANNI, GABBY KIWARKIS, GARRY ADAMS,
GENE PRATT, GEORGE DIMOS, GEORGÈ MANSFORD, GEORGE
PARASKEVOPOULOS, DR. GEORGE VASSILOPOULOS, GIUSEPPE DE SIMONE,
HELEN FINNIGAN, ILIAS KATSOS, JIM ROZAKLIS, JOE ZAPP, KALIOPI
GLEKAS, KALIOPI PAPAPOSTOLOU, KEVIN HURLEY,KON GLEKAS, KOSTAS
SGOURDAS, KOSTAS VLAHAKIS, LARRY ILIFFE, LEON TSONGAS, LUKE
KIROPOULOS, MARCUS BASTIAAN, MARIA VAMVAKINOU, MARK ADAMIS,
MATTHEW ADAMIS, MAVIS TREGONNING, MICHAEL BLAXLAND, MICHAEL
KROGER, MICHAEL SUKKAR, NICK BAKIS, NICK DEROS, PANAGIOTIS
KARAGIANNIS, PANAGIOTIS PARASKEVOPOULOS, PANAGIOTIS SIGALOS,
PAUL ADAMIS, PAUL MITCHELL, PAUL PRICKETT, PETER HATHERLEY,
PETER JASONIDES, PETER KALLIAKOUDIS, PETER MERCOULIA, PETER
ROBERTS, RON HILL, SAM KOSTOULIAS, SANDRA MERCERMOORE, (D),
STAVROS VALASSIS, STUART THRUPP, SUSAN ZIEBELL, TERRY
KANELLOS, THANASIS RASSIAS, THEMISTOCLES PATSILIVAS, TONY
KELLY, VASILIKI DIMOS, VIOLET HURLEY, WARREN PAYNE, WAYNE
WHITROD, & WILLIAM A M
As always stay strong,
be vigilant, never give up and fight the good fight. Peter