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ITHAKA ON THE HORIZON: A Greek-American Journey



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15 October 2006


Ted Laskaris

Stavros: The last of our Albanian campaign heroes are dying forgotten and without much help from the state. Post-war Greece has done an excellent job in erasing large swaths of our recent history out of apathy or political expediency or both.

This country must be among the leading bunch of states which forget and abandon their veterans. A telling example of this attitude is the treatment of our troops who heroically fought the Turk in Cyprus during those terrible days in July 1974. They've been completely erased from the collective service memory and have been given little for sacrificing on the front line. An unobtrusive memorial monument was erected only too recently; there's no Cyprus campaign medal; and service pensions for the survivors are only too scant to be mentioned.

I'm sure that Uncle George would have some stories to tell in this vein, although I have discovered that our veterans are universally proud persons who would not complain even when thrown in the trash by the state. It is our duty to remember them and honor them. This is the least we can do for the people who saved our country from foreign domination and held the gates against impossible odds.

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  • Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you're destined for. But don't hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you're old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you've gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn't have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. C. P. Cavafy


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