By Nick Stamatakis
In a remarkable event the City of Aurora, Illinois, honored the American Philhellenes Society (led by Peter and Georgia Nikolopoulos) along with the new Greek Consul in Chicago, Manolis Koubarakis. Mr. Koubarakis, to his credit, decided on his own initiative to correct the wrongs of the previous Consul who, inexplicably, had created unnecessary problems and friction with the officials of the City of Aurora. Aurora officials did everything possible to facilitate the erection of the beautiful monument last September 26, and it probably was among the best events celebrating the 200 years of the Greek Revolution (along with the event around the USS Constitution in Boston Harbor last April).
Both events had a common denominator: they pointed to the American contribution to the fight for Greek Independence. Unfortunately, the Aurora event seemed to have been ignored by the Greek Government – and this was quite inappropriate. Thankfully, this problem was corrected last week by Consul Koubarakis.
We are now hoping that the rest of the Chicago Greek-American community will embrace the Aurora monument and will make it the place to mark special Greek and American days of remembrance. Frankly, as I noted before, the absence of many leaders of the Chicago community from the September 26 ceremony was not a good sign: they need to put aside whatever political or personal antagonisms were there, and use some common sense, and unite. This is a major monument that celebrates the ties of America with Greece and we all need to embrace it…
BELOW YOU CAN SEE THE VIDEO AND A BRIEF REPORT FROM THE FB PAGE OF THE CITY OF AURORA.
FROM THE FACEBOOK PAGE OF THE CITY OF AURORA
PANHELLENIC PARTNERSHIPS: The Consul General of Greece in Chicago was honored by the unprecedented hospitality and commitment to heritage he experienced during his first visit to Aurora.
Consul General Emmanuel Koubarakis was received at Aurora City Hall during a Welcome Reception hosted by Mayor Richard C. Irvin, Chief Management Officer Alex G. Alexandrou, and the American Philhellenes Society.
“I’ve traveled the through the world, and this is one of the most honored receptions I’ve experienced,” said the Consul General who was appointed two months ago to serve in Chicago. He has previously served in various roles in New York City, Austria, and Ethiopia.
During the reception, he was welcomed by Congressman Bill Foster, Mayor Irvin, and Aurora City Council members, including Ward 3 Alderman Ted Mesiacos, the first Greek American to serve on the Aurora City Council.
Mesiacos and Alexandrou joined Mayor Irvin for a special flag exchange with the Consul General to symbolize the commitment to future collaborations between Aurora and the Hellenic Republic Office in Chicago.
Greek business owners in Aurora were also recognized for their service to the community. Nick Andriopolous, co-owners of Papa Bear Restaurant (and soon-to-open Gyro Pit) and Mike Poulakidas, owner of O’Malley’s and Spartan House, were honored.
In recognition 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution this year, the American Philhellenes Society sponsored the new American Philhellenes Memorial Monument at Wilder Park in downtown Aurora, where visitors from near and far – and generations to come – can visit to learn more about the courageous heroes who paved the way 200 years ago and opened the doors for unbreakable ties between Greece and America.
Consul General Koubarakis’ visit is the second such visit in the same number of months. The Consul General of Mexico in Chicago, Ambassador Reyna Torres Mendivil, visited Aurora City Hall last month.
Mayor Irvin has also hosted Consul Generals and leaders from China, Japan, Togo, and Uganda with future receptions planned for India and other nations.