Kudos to the Washington Oxi Day Foundation and its leadership, Andrew and Mike Manatos, for a wonderful initiative to bring the story of Greece’s role during World War II to the forefront— not only to our own community, but to the American mainstream.
The organization, which hosts an important event annually in Washington DC to commemorate the day when Greece said “No!” to an Axis ultimatum for surrender during World War II, also sponsors an annual essay writing contest and scholarship at St. Alban’s School— the most elite private school, perhaps in the nation.
This school’s graduates range from former Vice President Al Gore, to businessman J. W. Marriott Jr., to television anchor Brit Hume, to author Gore Vidal, as well as numerous U.S. Senators, Members of the House of Representatives and Cabinet officials.
Students were asked to write an essay about what actions of the modern era best parallel the “David vs. Goliath” courage that the Greek people showed for freedom and democracy during WWII.
As a result of the foundation’s efforts, the Oxi Day story was exposed to hundreds of current students and their parents through advertisements and participation in the scholarship contest.
The winning student John Ahn received a $1,000 scholarship from the Foundation.
Chances are that this student, as well as all of those who participated in the competition, will some day be in an important position of power either in our nation’s leadership, in a corporation somewhere, or elsewhere in the American mainstream.
Just think of the importance of teaching these young, impressionable people our history, at such a young age and embedding in their minds, the game-changing story of Greece’s role during World War II which unfortunately, is not widely known in our country.
In my opinion, this is one of the most important projects in our community and the scholarship to St. Alban’s School should be used as an example to others. While we should always keep some focus and attention on “preaching to the choir” and reminding our own young people of this important history, we should also step outside of our community and educate the world, as well.
Bravo to Andy and Mike Manatos and everyone at the Washington DC Oxi Day Foundation for this visionary project and congratulations to John Ahn for winning this year’s essay writing competition.