2009 -- S 0834

Enacted 03/25/09



S E N A T E  R E S O L U T I O N





     Introduced By: Senators Raptakis, Paiva-Weed, Gallo, McBurney, and Connors

     Date Introduced: March 25, 2009




     WHEREAS, On March 25, 1821, the Feast Day of the Annunciation, the Greek nation

reclaimed its ancient heritage as the "Cradle of Democracy" by overthrowing the yoke of

oppression which had enslaved its people since the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Conquered by

the Ottoman Turks in the 15th century, Greece waged a successful War of Independence (1821-

1829) and re-instituted a democratic form of government; and

     WHEREAS, It was the genius of Greece which first ignited the flame of freedom in the

6th and 5th centuries B.C., when Athens introduced the idea of direct representative government to

the world, thus ushering in a Golden Age of art, architecture, philosophy and drama under such

giants of western history as Pericles, Sophocles, Euripedes, Socrates and Plato; and

     WHEREAS, The Founding Fathers of the United States of America drew extensively

upon the political experience and philosophy of ancient Greece in forming our representative

democracy; and

     WHEREAS, It is proper and desirable to celebrate with the Greek people and to reaffirm

the democratic principles from which our two great nations were born; and

     WHEREAS, Greece is only one of three nations in the world, beyond the former British

Empire, that has been allied with the United States in every major international conflict in the last

100 years; and

     WHEREAS, During World War II and the Cold War years, more than two thousand

Liberty Ships were built to support the United States' efforts to aid European allies. Over

seventeen were built in Rhode Island.

     WHEREAS, During and after World War II, over one hundred Liberty Ships were

transferred to Greece in order to rebuild their merchant marine fleets. Others became living

museums, paying tribute to their builders, in recognition of the seamen who sailed them, and

honoring the U.S. Naval Armed Guard who defended them; and

     WHEREAS, The Rhode Island Congressional Delegation and the Rhode Island Senate

helped play an important role in transporting the last Liberty Ship, the Arthur M. Huddell this

past year, to Greece, thereby strengthening the ties between the two nations; and

     WHEREAS, United States Ambassador to Greece Daniel Speckhard has emphasized that

Greece has a very important role in the Balkans, adding that United States looks forward to joint

cooperation in this region; and

     WHEREAS, The ancient Macedonians were Hellenes and that the northern province of

Greece, Macedonia are their Hellenic descendants; and

     WHEREAS, The Government of Turkey refuses to recognize the rights and religious

freedoms of Ecumenical Patriarchate, the head of Greek Orthodox Christian Church, which is a

minority religion in Turkey; now, therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

hereby celebrates March 25, 2009 as the 188th Anniversary of Greek Independence, reaffirms

Rhode Island's abiding commitment to the magnificent principles of democracy and religious

freedom, and urges Turkey to respect the rights and religious freedoms of the Ecumenical

Patriarchate; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to

transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church of

Cranston, the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church of Pawtucket, the St. Spyridon Greek

Orthodox Church of Newport, and the members of the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation

and to Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Archdiocese of America.