Every year on the 28th of October kids from Greek schools all over the world from elementary school to high school gear up for the ‘Ohi’ parade. The day commemorates Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas rejection of the Italian Dictator Mussolini’s ultimatum on October 28th 1940. This event is very similar to the Persian ultimatum to the Ancient Greek city states. The Persians asked for ‘earth and air’ in exchange for submission to the Persian empire in the 5th Century B.C.. Modern Greece was once again faced with the same dilema. Freedom was to be taken once again. A proud Metaxas rejected Mussolini’s ultimatum that if they are not allowed to occupy Greece then there would be war. The rejection marked the beginning of Greece’s involvement in World War II. Greek troops-that included my grandfather and his brothers marched into Albania to fight the Italians who were with the Axis powers. The Greek army were to return from Albania victorious. Even though the Germans would later invade Greece no one forgot the heroism of the Greek army and many believe that the victory helped to end the second world war.
After the war, my grandfather came back to Greece safely with his brothers with plenty of stories to tell..