When Greece broke from 400 years of domination by the Ottoman Empire in 1829, Greek patriots raised their flag over the city where George Floor's parents were born.
Floor's father, born in Kalavrita, Greece, came to Salt Lake City in 1906, bringing with him a heritage commemorated Sunday when the Hellenic Cultural Association unveiled the Hellenic Historical Monument."Greeks hold their heritage in very high regard," Floor said following the dedication of the granite monument by Gov. Norm Bangerter and local Greek dignitaries at the Greek Orthodox Church in downtown Salt Lake City.
The monument, unveiled during the week proclaimed by Bangerter as Greek Immigrants Week, was erected to remember sacrifices made by 36 Utah Greeks who were killed in the World Wars and the Korean War.
Additionally, the memorial recognizes 49 Greek miners killed in a mine disaster at Castle Gate, Carbon County, in 1924, and more than 100 other Greeks lost in railroad, mining, mill and other industrial accidents.
The tenacity that allowed the Greeks to overcome Turkish rule also helped them persist and thrive in the harsh conditions of the coal mines and make sacrifices at war in the name of the country to which many had only recently emigrated, Floor said.
"I think the monument is important because we came to a very secluded part of the country . . . and established ourselves with honor in this community," said Floor, who now lives in West Valley City.
"It's important you remember your heritage," said Bangerter, who drew applause from the nearly 200 onlookers when he greeted them in Greek.
Floor echoed the governor, saying that even Greek Children living in Salt Lake City learn to speak Greek, as he does, and participate in cultural awareness activities at the church.
Bronze plaques to be placed on the monument will list the names of the 238 "heroes" who died in the military or serving their country in other ways. More names will be added later, officials said.