Ahepans Honor America's Fallen Heroes

Supreme President Manios (left) and retired Col. Vamvakias lay the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown with the assistance of an Honor Guard Specialist.

In the foreground at attention are (l-r): Honor Guard Specialist, Ahepan and Navy Veteran Michael Manios and retired Navy Captain Demo Kolaras.

440 Gravesites Memorialized at Arlington

WASHINGTON—A proud tradition continued on Memorial Day 2005, when members of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), the largest and oldest American-based Greek heritage grassroots membership organization, paid their respects on behalf of the Greek-American community to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, democracy, and liberty at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

1924 Ahepans have returned annually to Arlington for this memorial.

Supreme President Franklin R. Manios, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps; retired Army Colonel Nicholas P. Vamvakias, retired Navy Captain Demosthenes N. Kolaras, and Michael Manios, also a veteran of the U.S. Navy, participated in the wreath laying ceremony. An Honor Guard Specialist assisted them.

“It is a unique and powerfully moving experience,” said Manios, who during the ceremony, reflected upon his fellow Marine Corps servicemen with whom he served in the mid-1950s. “It is especially meaningful to perform this ceremony at this time in our nation’s history when our brave men and women are in harm’s way. This is one of the greatest honors anyone can perform and a small way of expressing our community’s gratitude to our fallen heroes.”

440 Gravesites Memorialized at Arlington

On Sat., May 28, members of AHEPA Chapter 31, Washington, DC, gathered to memorialize those identified as Greek-Americans or Greek Orthodox who are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. According to members of the chapter, there are roughly 440 gravesites at which Ahepans present a bouquet of artificial flowers and pause in remembrance of those who perished for our nation. The chapter has performed this ceremony annually since 1949. This year, members from AHEPA Chapter 438, Arlington, Va. also assisted.

“I commend Chapter 31 for its carefully detailed effort to properly honor and remember the memory of those brave souls of our community who sacrificed so much for freedom,” said Manios.

For more information about Arlington National Cemetery, please visit www.arlingtoncemetery.org.

The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) is the largest and oldest American-based, Greek heritage grassroots membership organization. Its scope is international with chapters in the United States, Canada, Greece, and Cyprus, and "sister" chapters in Australia and New Zealand under the auspices of AHEPA Australasia. AHEPA was founded on July 26, 1922 in response to the evils of bigotry and racism that emerged in early 20th century American society. It also helped Greek immigrants assimilate into society. Today, AHEPA brings the ideals of ancient Greece, which includes philanthropy, education, civic responsibility, and family and individual excellence to the community. The AHEPA family consists of four organizations: AHEPA, Daughters of Penelope, Sons of Pericles and Maids of Athena. For more information about the organization or how to join, contact AHEPA Headquarters (202-232-6300) or visit the organization's newly redesigned website at http://www.ahepa.org.

HCS maintains an extensive archives of AHEPA articles and press releases which readers are invited to browse under the AHEPA Family Releases section of the site archives at http://www.helleniccomserve.com/contents.html.

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