On October 28th, millions around the world will commemorate OXI (pronounced ō-hē) Day, a day honoring Greece’s resistance to fascism during the Second World War. The day will be remembered by USS Slater and the Capital Region’s Hellenic Community with a brief program beginning at 9 am aboard the ship, which is docked at Albany.
In 1940 Mussolini delivered an ultimatum to Greece’s Prime Minister demanding the entry of the Italian army and the occupation of Greek territory. The Prime Minister refused, and the response was quickly echoed by the people of Athens as “Oxi,” meaning “No.”
The Italian forces entered Greece through the steep Pindos Mountains. There they met fierce and unexpected resistance. Hitler was forced to delay the invasion of Russia and extend their campaign into the winter in order to subdue the Greeks when the Italians failed in their efforts.
This diversion proved to be a great advantage for the Allied forces. Winston Churchill paid homage to the Greek resistance in one of his classic quips: “until now we would say that the Greeks fight like heroes. From now on we will say that heroes fight like Greeks.”
USS Slater has a special connection to the people of Greece. In 1951 the ship, along with three sister ships, was transferred to the Hellenic Navy and renamed Aetos (pronounced ī-tōs), meaning eagle. She completed hundreds of reconnaissance missions and training cruises for naval cadets over a forty-year career.
USS Slater, the last Destroyer Escort afloat in America, is open to the public for her 24th season in Albany. Guided tours start every 30 minutes. No reservations are required. Admission is charged for tours of USS Slater. Adults: $9.00, Seniors: $8.00, Children: $7.00, and children under 5 years old are admitted for free.
The ship is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm, through Sunday, November 28, 2021. Slater is located in Downtown Albany at the intersection of Broadway and Quay Street.
Photo of USS Slater courtesy Shanna Hopson.