Last Friday the Evzones paraded in front of 45,000 people at the Adelaide Oval in the pre-game flag raising ceremony as part of Anzac Day commemorations prior to the Port Adelaide-Carlton football match.
“It was moving and emotional to see them on the field representing Greece,” said Harry Patsouris, Trustee of The Foundation for Hellenic Studies, although some people were disappointed by the lack of coverage and recognition the Evzones received during the parade by Australian mainstream media and football organisers.
The following day, the Evzones paid their respects to the Anzacs who fought, by marching to the War Memorial and participating in the commemorative wreath-laying ceremony.
This was also the first time that allied soldiers have been allowed to guard the Adelaide War Memorial.
The Evzones also visited the St George Orthodox Church for a Vespers and Divine Liturgy Service for St George’s Day where His Grace Bishop Nikandros welcomed them and, after congratulating them on their ethos, he thanked them for bringing such an important piece of Greece to Australia.
During the speech, two of the Evzones became so emotional about their experiences in Adelaide and their Australian welcome, that they couldn’t hold back their tears.
“The heartwarming welcome and love we received from the moment we arrived in Adelaide, combined with Bishop Nikandros’ words, who spoke so highly of Greece and us, the Evzones, brought tears to my eyes; what the world witnessed was the culmination of all the emotions I have accumulated from the day I joined the Evzones until now,” said 25-year-old Evzonas Konstantinos Lousias in an exclusive interview with Neos Kosmos.
“I was nine years old when my parents took me to see the Evzones at Syntagma Square in Athens. As soon as I saw them standing strong and proud in front of the Greek Parliament, I told my mother that one day I would be one myself,” says Konstantinos who originates from the little village of Gavria, just outside of Arta.
“The positive energy, the pure love and the warmth we all experienced from the people in Australia will stay embedded in our hearts forever.”
“I stand, and will continue to stand, proud until the end of my service honouring my homeland and every soldier who gave their life in the past so that we can all be free today.”