In honor of the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight of 1956, pictures capturing the times of Hungary’s young heroes adorn the Yehudi Menuhin Hall of the European Parliament. At the opening of the photo exhibition, October 18, President of the European People’s Party Joseph Daul and EPP Vice President József Szájer as well as Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament László Kövér praised the young freedom fighters of 1956, who, as teenagers, dared to take on the world’s largest army of the time in fight for Hungary’s freedom.
In his remarks, President Daul emphasized the importance of remembering the ideals of ’56 and the principles for which our heroes fought and gave their lives. He stressed that the legacy of the Revolution remains with each and every man and woman, every time we think about freedom. Here we are, 60 years after the events. The world has changed so much, but the message of the revolution still stands: the memory of 1956 teaches us the lesson that it is always possible to change the course of history. The lads of Pest, the individual heroes of our nation did not hesitate to fight for what they believed was right. Suppression, dictatorship, cruelty and the communist terror – the things they revolted against – might seem distant today, but the rights they called for remain relevant struggles: sovereignty, self-determination and national identity. Though the overwhelming force of Soviet military might defeated it on the streets, the 1956 Revolution lived on in the minds of Hungarians. Ultimately, it led to the fall of the communist regime in 1989.
“The time comes for every person and every nation, when they have to face their Goliaths,” according to Speaker Kövér. “We, Hungarians challenged our Goliath in 1956.”
“Over the course of history the Revolution and Freedom Fight of 1956 transformed from defeated into victor,” said Speaker Kövér. “[T]he Hungarian people regained their sense of liberty, dignity and responsibility.” The speaker, who was unable to attend in person, sent his remarks in a prepared message.
The role of the young heroes who took up arms cannot be overstated. “This exhibition pays tribute to the brave Hungarian patriots,” said MEP Szájer, “who were not afraid of the Soviet overlord and even sacrificed their lives.”
The spirit of the heroes of 1956 will always remain with the freedom-loving. Although the revolutionaries were outnumbered and defeated militarily, the spirit of the uprising eventually overcame Soviet communism. Thus, Europe could unite once again.
The 1956 Revolution achieved global impact. It shook the Soviet regime and weakened communist parties throughout the world. The selfless sacrifice of the “lads of Pest,” the known and unknown heroes of ’56 will remain a shining example for all peoples who are denied their freedom and sovereignty.