The Washington Oxi Day Foundation announced today that Panagiotis M. Sakellaris, a Greek WWII veteran, has been selected to receive the Oxi Day Greatest Generation Award on behalf of all Greek soldiers who served courageously during World War II.
Former Senate Majority Leader and nominee for President of the United States, Bob Dole, will receive the Oxi Day Greatest Generation Awardhonoring an American veteran, on behalf of all American WWII soldiers.
Sakellaris, who is 97-years-old, joined the Greek military at the age of 21. Following the Axis invasion of Greece in October 1940, Sakellaris was called to active duty and deployed to the Albanian front where he played a key role in the successful counter offensive against the invading forces.
During the war, Sakellaris, nicknamed “The Last Horseman,” served as a highly trained forward observer on horseback. His assignment was to conduct reconnaissance in advance of troop movements to be sure the rest of the troops could move forward in safety. In this role, he was in constant danger of being discovered by the Axis troops and his small reconnaissance group was often left largely defenseless before the remaining troops in his division could arrive. Sakellaris exhibited great courage and valor in his service to Greece, yet when asked about his service, he humbly recounted, “When your country needs you, you just do it.”
Dole and Sakellaris will accept their awards at a special ceremony at the National World War II Memorial on Thursday, October 27th at 2:30 pm. This event is part of the First Annual Washington Oxi Day Celebration. Those attending this ceremony will include American policymakers, officials from other nations, other WWII Veterans, Greek-American community leaders from across the country and others.
Sakellaris will be accepting the award on behalf of Greek WWII veterans and the extraordinary role they played in inflicting a fatal wound that was instrumental to the defeat of the Axis forces in WWII.