GREEKS WILL MAKE READY
The Local Colony Is Very Eager to Oppose the Turks.
FUNDS WILL BE RAISED TO HELP.
Patristic Addresses to Be Delivered at a Banquet Sunday.
THEIR LOVE OF CONFLICT IS INHERITED.
So Say Demetrak and Vamvales, Prominent Members of the Hellenic Society.
The members of the local Greek colony are wrought up to a high pitch of patriotic enthusiasm by the news of the mother countrys expressed determination to defy the unspeakable Turks and to draw the sword if necessary in defense of Cretan liberty. As already stated in these columns, this enthusiasm has assumed a practical form; funds are being raised to succor the wives and families of the massacred Christians, and fully 250 able-bodied Greeks are prepared to leave for the scene of hostilities at almost a moments notice should the mother country be actually in need of their services.
C. Demetrak of 1022 Mission street stated last night that a banquet would be given on Sunday evening in the Druids Hall, Sutter street, at the expense of A. Kosta, the chairman of the committee recently appointed by the Hellenic Mutual Benevolent Society to consider the question of raising funds on behalf of the Cretan patriots. The banquet proper will be preceded by a mass-meeting, in the course of which Messrs. Demetrak, M. D. Vamvalos, M. Damianakis and F. Vrewios will deliver addresses on the subject of the present crisis and invite suggestions from the rest of their countrymen in this City, who expected to attend the meeting almost to a man.
It was also decided the other evening to give a ball for the benefit of the sufferers on the islands of Crete, at the Turn Verein Hall, 323 Turk street, on the 27th inst., particulars of which will be published later. Every guest will appear in the Greek national costume, and a large gathering is confidently anticipated.
"All the Greeks in the City," said Mr. Demetrak, "are very enthusiastic, and the Cretan question absorbs our attention just now. We are preparing to assist our country in every way possible, either with men or with money. If Greece has to fight Turkey, there are many of us, not only in San Francisco, but all over the States, who will go over to help her. Most of us are naturalized Americans, and love our adopted country, and equally ready to draw the sword on her behalf when called upon. Just now, however, the United States enjoys peace and can spare us to fight for the mother country. I believe we can raise a company of 250 able-bodied men, fully equipped, to leave at a moments notice when needed. It is a natural instinct with the Greeks to aid the distressed, as was illustrated last week, when our society contributed a large sum for the benefit of the sufferers by the recent floods at Athens. To-days news from he seat of war was received with joy among us, and we have been holding an impromptu celebration in honor of the event."
M. D. Vamvales echoed the sentiments of Mr. Demetrak, when interviewed yesterday.
"Yes," he said, "all is in readiness when the struggle really begins between Greece and Turkey. There are probably about 600 Greeks in San Francisco, and 1000 on the Pacific Coast. At least 100 in this City alone are qualified to fight when called upon. It should be borne in mind that nearly all of us have served our time in the Greek army, with the exception of those who left home before they were of age, and some others who were born in this country. At present we are merely concerning ourselves with the raising of funds to assist the cause of Crete, and we give a ball on the 27th inst. for the benefit of the widows and children of the massacred Cretans. Nevertheless we are prepared to form a company more than 100 strong to leave for Crete when called upon. Many of the Greeks here are fairly wealthy, and we shall have no difficulty in raising plenty of money."
Vamvales is a big, powerfully built man, and physically, at least, seems admirably qualified to undertake a warlike mission. The love of fighting for its own sake, he explained, was a national inheritance, dating from Thermopylae. Salamis and a hundred other blood-stained fields upon which his ancestors have vindicated the cause of freedom against the incursions of Asiatic tyranny. "Wherever there is any fighting," said Vamvales naively, "we must be in it. We would help the United States with equal readiness against a foreign foe."
The San Francisco Call, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 1897, p. 14:1