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Celebrations honor Greek independence

(ran PW edition)

Greek Independence Day celebrations will begin today in New Port Richey, continue Saturday in Clearwater and culminate in the annual parade through the streets of Tarpon Springs on Sunday as local Greeks celebrate their homeland's version of the Fourth of July.

The parade honors the Greek fight for independence from the Ottoman Empire that began March 25, 1821.

Greek people were "determined to end 400 years of slavery or die in the attempt," said parade chairman Sam Agelatos.

"They became a free country, like July the Fourth," he said. "We forgive what happened, but we never forget."

The parade is from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, capping off three days of activities in honor of the holiday.

After the parade begins, marchers will stop for one minute as a way of commemorating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"We will be silent to remember all the police and the firefighters and the innocent people who died," Agelatos said.