R 168
2017 -- S 0688
Enacted 03/30/2017

S E N A T E   R E S O L U T I O N

Introduced By: Senators Raptakis, Doyle, Paiva Weed, Gallo, and Kettle
Date Introduced: March 30, 2017

     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, The people of the United States generously offered humanitarian assistance
to the Greek people during their struggle for independence; and
     WHEREAS, The price for Greece in holding onto our common values in their region was
high, as hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed in Greece during World War II; 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, The Government and people of Greece actively participate in peacekeeping
and peace-building operations conducted by international organizations, including the United
Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the European Union, and the Organization for
Security and Co-operation in Europe, and have more recently provided critical support to the
operation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas; and
     WHEREAS, Greece, located in a region where Christianity meets Islam and Judaism,
maintains excellent relations with Muslim nations and Israel and demonstrates religious
tolerance; and
     WHEREAS, Greece and the United States are at the forefront of the effort for freedom,
democracy, peace, stability, and human rights; and
     WHEREAS, Those and similar ideas have forged a close bond between Greece and the
United States, and their people's will be celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Truman Doctrine
in 2017, passed in 1947 to aid Greece, which was on the brink of collapse after the devastation of
the second World War. President Truman's farsighted decision to step in and assist democracies
like Greece came with the foresight to know that America's transatlantic partnerships with nations
like Greece would become the most enduring and important relationships that we have in the
world. The United States eventually gave Greece and other Western European democracies more
than two billion dollars in assistance, which in today's money amounts to more than twenty-one
billion dollars. The American aid given to Greece through military economic, and diplomatic
assistance secured Greece's place in the West and helped countless people; and
     WHEREAS, A record 1.2 million people requested asylum with the European Union in
2015. Greece faced the brunt of this exodus, receiving more than 650,000 migrants in 2015, with
asylum seekers arriving at the rate of 8,000 a day. The nation of Greece and its people have
generously assisted these applicants and have shown great compassion for them as they seek out a
better life for themselves, one filled with personal freedom and economic security. We all owe a
debt of gratitude to the Greek people; and
     WHEREAS, March 25, 2017, Greek Independence Day, marks the 196th anniversary of
the beginning of the revolution that freed the Greek people from the Ottoman Empire and
celebrates the aspirations for democracy and tolerance that the peoples of Greece and the United
States share; and
     WHEREAS, The Government of Greece has taken important steps in recent years to
improve relations with other countries in the region. Greece Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, in a
recent two-day visit to the United States, highlighted Greece's value as a bastion of stability in a
volatile area, the need for security in the region, and outlined the importance of the ties Greece
has nurtured with key ally Cyprus and other nations in the region including Israel, Egypt,
Lebanon and Jordan; and
     WHEREAS, It is proper and desirable for the United States to celebrate this anniversary
with the Greek people and to reaffirm the democratic principles from which these two great
nations were born; now, therefore be it
     RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
hereby celebrates March 25, 2017, as the 196th 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 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, the members of the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation, and
Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Archdiocese of America.