On Sunday, October 23, Ambassador Dr. Réka Szemerkényi and the Embassy of Hungary hosted a reception in celebration and remembrance of the 60th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight. In attendance for the special ceremony were Hungarian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade László Szabó and original 56er and member of the Hungarian Revolutionary Government Dr. Imre Tóth.
In commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight, the Embassy of Hungary hosted a National Day Reception on Sunday, October 23. Ambassador Dr. Réka Szemerkényi took the 300 guest and audience members through a slideshow of the Embassy of Hungary’s program of events that have either taken place or will take place in the Washington, DC area in honor of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight. Speaking about how the 1956 Revolution impacted both her and her family, Ambassador of Hungary Dr. Réka Szemerkényi recalled, “I remember during my childhood almost exclusively to the stories of my parents and grandparents. “I am most honored to have here among us the 56ers, the heroes of the Revolution,” said Ambassador Szemerkényi.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary László Szabó gave a keynote speech about the significance of the 1956 Revolution on Hungarian-American bilateral relations. He emphasized that, "The basic principles and ideals of freedom, liberty, and democracy, the values of the Revolution, tie our two nations together.”
Original 56er and one of the last surviving members of the Hungarian Revolutionary government, Dr. Imre Tóth commended the strength and resolve of the Hungarian people: “They stayed together like brothers and sisters, and we veterans of the Revolution taught the young how to use them to defend themselves. We had some Revolutionaries only fourteen or twelve years old – the rifles were bigger than them.”
Also speaking at the ceremony and delivering a special video presentation was Andrea Lauer-Rice, founder of the “Memory Project” – a visual archive and documentary series about Hungarian-American immigrants who fled Communism following the 1956 Revolution. Through a combination of in-depth interviews and archival research collected from cities throughout the United States, the “Memory Project” has profiled and publicized the harrowing stories of dozens of Hungarian-Americans.
The instantly recognizable Hungarian modern folk band Csík Zenekar, traveling all the way from Budapest, also performed for guests who were invited to a buffet-style dinner that included traditional Hungarian dishes and a selection of Hungarian wines.
The Embassy’s National Day Ceremony marked the zenith of over a six-week-long program of events including a VIP Gala Dinner and the unveiling of the statue of the “Budapest Lad,” both on Sunday, October 16. To learn more about the Embassy’s series of past and future commemoratory events, please click HERE.
To view a photo album of the ceremony, please click HERE.