The National Herald is Proud to Present its 500th Issue

By Mark Frangos
Special to the National Herald

NEW YORK - For the last 500 weeks, since October 18, 1997, the National Herald's weekly English edition has been informing Greek Americans of news about their culture, heritage and religion. There have been stories ranging from triumph to tragedy; stories about life and death.

The Herald reported how the tragedy of September 11, 2001 impacted Greek American families, and Greece's practically flawless hosting of the 2004 Olympic Games. Some of our stories have made you laugh, sometimes we made you cry, but we always do our best to instruct and inform our community in English ­ever since our publisher deemed it necessary to distribute a newspaper for the ever-growing English-speaking generations of Greek America.

To help us celebrate our first 500 issues, we are proud to let you, our loyal readers take the spotlight.

We searched around the country and found that many of our subscribers were more than willing to become journalists for a day and discuss what they think the Herald has meant to them and the Greek American community.

Some felt that the Herald's greatest asset was its ability to inform.

"We like it because it keeps us informed with what's going on in our churches, and with the Greek community," said Despina Pallios of Ceres, California, whose husband Gus was a past president of the Pan­Cretan Association of America.

Mrs. Pallios remembers one article in particular which moved her and also solved a years-old mystery.

"Your paper recently reported that Father Papageorge from Modesto passed away," she recalled. "He would have been 97 years old in October, and there was a very nice article about him. There was a picture of him also when he was a priest in Nebraska. Apparently, the Archdiocese saw that picture, but never knew who that priest was until they read the article."

Many other readers enjoy articles about the struggles of Greeks from across the country, when they first immigrated to chase the American Dream.

"I enjoy reading the historical and classical articles," said Irene Demos of Chicago, Illinois, whose subscription doesn't expire until 2012. "I'm also happy that the Herald provides such a wide range of information about these stories nationwide."

Some of these articles touched readers closer to home.

"Some of the historical articles bring back memories from when I was a little girl in Greek school," said Tasia Argires of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. "I tend to read about what Greek people had done in the past, and what their children are continuing to do in America. It is difficult to read about the horrors and hardships some of these people went through, because my father came over in 1905 as a 13-year-old boy; and he had a difficult time."

Sophie Megdanis of Orangeburg, New York became emotional thinking about the connection between a Herald article and her memories.

"I really enjoyed Steve Frangos' articles about the Gandy Dancers," she said. "My father was a railroad worker, and it brought back memories. Even articles on the Greek Parade each year make me think about when I used to attend it. The newspaper helps me remember and reminisce about things."

Other readers like to the Herald's extensive coverage of the Greek Orthodox Church.

"I think the Herald has been very consistent. It's been very accurate in its news. It has excellent contributors on the op-ed pages. It is the best Greek American newspaper," said Ted Karakostas of Milton, Massachusetts, a sometime contributor who has also been a subscriber for almost six years. "But I definitely I think the best thing about the paper is the coverage of church issues, including both the Archdiocese of America and the Ecumenical Patriarchate," he added.

"I like that it includes articles on the Church, even though it isn't a religious newspaper," said Constance Forkiotis of Fairfield, CT, who has been reading the Herald for years.

Some readers say they just love reading the Herald from cover to cover every weekend, and view it as their window to the world of the Greek American community and a bridge to news of their motherland.

"The National Herald is my primary source for keeping up with the Greek American community and news from Greece. The Herald is like a mosaic of news that is important to Greek Americans. When you put together the pieces - the Community section, news from Greece and Cyprus, editorials and historical articles - then you can appreciate the big picture that is Greek American culture," said Dr. Alex Doumas of Bloomington, Indiana.

"I like everything about the paper," said Peter Moschouris of Saint Cloud, Florida, who has subscribed to the Herald since its early days. "It gives me a bird's eye view of all the news in English in a Greek environment. If it wasn't for the paper I wouldn't know anything about the Greek American community. I can't read the regular Greek paper, so I am dependent on the English version to give me the news that I need to know about my heritage and culture."

While everybody seems to have their favorite section, all our readers agreed that the English edition of the National Herald plays an intricate and integral role in the community, particularly since more and more Greek Americans are speaking Greek less and less.

"I think the National Herald is playing a very important role," "A lot of younger people aren't going to be speaking Greek for very much longer, so I think it's important to have this English edition," said Despina Axiotakis of Ridgewood, New Jersey.

"It's important that the newspaper points out things to us," said Ruby Panteli of Manchester, New Hampshire, who has been a subscriber for five years. "The National Herald reveals things that we should know, but don't know. These things aren't always positive, but they are important."

Many readers like to share their enjoyment of the Herald with friends and family. Some have even sent it as Christmas and birthday gifts, while others enjoy passing it on as a way to engage their Greek penchant for passionate discussion and debate, and wished us continued success.

"I gave a subscription to my brother, who is in Birmingham, Alabama and I also got my friend Helen Tsoucalas going," Ms. Argires said.

"I love reading the Herald," Ms. Forkiotis said. "I pass it onto my sister and brother in-law, and they pass it on to his aunt."

"I wish continued success for the Herald's next 500 issues, and its next 1,000 issues after that," Ms. Axiotakis said.

(Posting date 12 June 2007)

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