“There is no man whose spirit isn’t uplifted, upon hearing the name of Marathon, embracing and honoring this name with sincere pleasure”
Elios Aristides, 2nd Century BC
These days, the anniversary events in honor and memory of the historical Battle of the Marathon in 490 BC are reaching a climax. The Battle of the Marathon is one of the greatest battles of the ancient times, which became a symbol of freedom, culture and humanism, a source of national self-awareness and inspiration for mankind all around the world.
The victorious Battle of the Marathon was a decisive factor for the salvation of Athenian Democracy and the glorious advancement of the Greek Classical culture, determining the fate of the world culture and history.
It is deeply rooted within Greek and global consciousness, as 2500 years later, the Olympic Sport known as the Marathon is honored in all five continents of the world, inspired by the legendary feat of the Athenian military messenger who exceeded the limits of human endurance to convey the message of victory and declare “we won”, before dropping down dead. The historic event of the Battle of Marathon is also honored through the relay of the Marathon Flame in cities where the races are held.
As intrinsic guardians of our cultural heritage we have a duty to promote its values, ideas and ideals, associated with the historic Battle of the Marathon; willpower, patience, endurance and sense of collectivity in the race, prioritizing collective good over the ego, self respect. However, above all, the Battle of the Marathon symbolizes the victory of Democracy.
Today, danger does not come from eastern despotism, but from the forgetfulness and catalysis of the values in our lives. The completion of 25 centuries since the heroic battle of our ancestors presents a unique opportunity for us to reflect on the inexhaustible wealth of our cultural heritage and contribute towards the restoration of these values that humanity is in need of today, more than ever.
Let no one miss the anniversary events of the Greek Diaspora and let us seize every opportunity, as American citizens of Greek descent to promote the universal values of the Marathon, originated in Greece, to the American community. Let us promote Greek universality and build a better future together.
*T.G. Spyropoulos is the Coordinator of SAE U.S.A. Region and President of the Greek – American foundation “Plant your roots in Greece”