It was still an impressive spectacle but Greece today staged a cut-price Independence Day parade.
With tanks, planes and helicopters missing, onlookers had to make do with marching members of the military.
Patriotic pride was still to the fore but this year’s scaled down event reportedly saved 5 million euros.
Not everyone is happy.
On the sidelines of the event, one woman in Athens said cutbacks should be made in other areas and not the national parade.
Another complained about Prime Minister George Papandreou’s presence in Brussels.
“He should have stayed here like a real Greek,” she said.
A man added, with a laugh:“What can we do? Greeks should always be optimistic. We are optimistic people.”
But the harsh realities are never far away and demonstrators denounced austerity measures aimed at getting Greece’s economy back on track.