National Geographic : 1949 Dec
AlIret1 lOOK, u. s. Army lnglneers Americans Restore the 1,100-foot Brallos Bridge, Successor to Thermopylae Pass This wild gorge was bridged when the Simplon Orient Express linked Athens with Paris and Istanbul by rail. During the war retreating Germans did a thorough demolition job. Col. D. W. Griffiths, U. S . Army Engineers, here addresses Greek officials at completion of the reconstruction in April, 1949 (page 721). Historic Thermopylae, no longer an important route, lies a few miles away. Paul and beautiful Queen Frederika rode to and from the Cathedral ceremony. Twice in recent months I heard the "Dead March" sound here as the massive Archbishop Damaskinos, onetime Regent and Premier, and frail Premier Themistocles Sophoulis, their coffins bare to the open sky, were borne past toward the grave. Meanwhile, in the hornet-nest mountains of Epirus, Macedonia, and Thrace, some 200 miles away, the Army parades its heavy trucks as the armament of modern mechanized war moves along mined roads toward ambushed guerrillas. The menace of Stalinism, seeking access to the Mediterranean through Greece, brought America into the picture. The Greeks saved Western civilization from Oriental despotism when the world was young. Now Greece, hard against the Iron Curtain, defends democracy and we give aid. After talking with American Mission heads, I asked an old friend, in charge of field men, where I could accompany one of his legmen and trouble shooters on his rounds. "How about starting with Crete?" SoIflewtoCreteinanhourinashiny DC-3. Help from the skies came to Greece just in time. Roads were mined, bridges broken, through road traffic suspended. But silver bright planes drone over friendly and enemy territory alike, preventing Greece from again becoming a group of isolated city-states, sand wiched between enemy-held hills. Like flashing spokes around Hassani (El linikon) Airport, in the honey-scented lap of Hymettus, 15 TAE (Greek Air Lines) routes reach out to Alexandroupolis, Komotini, Ka valla, Salonika (Thessaloniki), V6los, La rissa, Kozani, Ioannina, Agrinion, Tripolis, Kalamata (Kalamai), Khania, Iraklion, to Egypt's Alexandria, and to Rhodes (R6dhos), capital of the long-Greek, but newly rewon Dodecanese.