National Day Reception on the 55th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight

Click here to view the photo gallery of the event.

The Embassy of Hungary commemorated the 55th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight at the National Day Reception on Thursday, October 20, 2011. Ambassador György Szapáry welcomed the 300 guests to the event and presented a short audio recording with original black-and-white photos from the General Assembly of the Association of Hungarian University and College Students on October 20, 1956 in Szeged, Hungary, where the initial draft of the 16 demands of the Revolution was written.

The keynote speech was delivered by Hungarian Deputy State Secretary Gergely Prőhle, followed by the remarks of General Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. Congressional Liaison Diplomat Anna Stumpf read the greetings of Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and Congressman Cliff Stearns (R-FL). The special video messages of Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) were screened.

The personal messages from the members of the United States Congress were followed by Hungarian state award presentations. Gergely Prőhle presented the Commander’s Cross with the Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary to Professor John Lukacs for his prolific and influential publications on the history of the Second World War and the Cold War, as well as for the promotion of relations between Hungarian and American universities.

The Hungarian Deputy State Secretary presented the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary to Gyula Várallyay, member of the board of the Hungarian American Coalition for his lifelong commitment to the cultivation of the memory of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight and to the promotion of the activities of the Hungarian-American community and of the Hungarian-American bilateral relations.

In his speech, Professor John Lukacs praised Sir Bryan Cartledge, Former British Ambassador to Budapest and introduced his book titled ’The Will To Survive: A History of Hungary’. In his remarks, Professor Cartledge expressed his satisfaction in the launch of the American edition of this book at the Embassy of Hungary, and he talked about the will of the Hungarian people and the Hungarian nation to free themselves from all occupying empires and dictatorships throughout their tempestuous history. He described the 1956 Revolution as the culmination of the Hungarians’ desire for freedom.

The National Day Reception was attended by American diplomats from the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs of the State Department, staffers of US Congressmen and Senators, diplomats of the EU Delegation and other embassies in Washington, DC, representatives of several think tanks and media organizations, as well as leaders of the most influential Hungarian American organizations.

Click here to view the photo gallery of the event.