President Bush Honors 1848, 1956, and Hungary's Contributions to Democracy
3/15/2009 - President Bush praised Hungary on Hungarian National Day. March 15th marks Hungary's National Day and the anniversary of its historic 1848 democratic revolution led by Louis Kossuth against Hapsburg domination. “I believe the example of Hungary proves that freedom is universal. I believe everybody desires to live in freedom,” President Bush said in the US Capitol's beautiful statuary hall, where AHF's Kossuth Bust first lay. Kossuth was the leader of then “It's an example that tyranny can never stamp out the desire to be free.” [Download Full Speech]. Numerous AHF members joined the event chair, Congressman Tom Lantos and distiguished speakers and guests that included Congressmen Pelosi, Hastert, Reid, Frist, and Hyde, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Hungarian Ambassador Simonyi, Washington, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, and US Ambassador to Hungary Walker in the US Capitol.
March 15 commemorates the beginning of the 1848-1849 Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence against Hapsburg domination. It is one of the country’s three national days and marks the birth of modern parliamentary Hungary.
U.S. Ambassador to Hungary George Walker, also speaking at the commemoration in Washington, paid tribute to “the freedom fighters of 1848 and 1956 who fought for independence, for a more democratic political system and for human rights.” He also noted that in 1989 “Hungarians opened their gates to East German citizens fleeing their country in large numbers and simultaneously, and at considerable risk, opened the doors to Austria and freedom, thereby defying the Warsaw Pact.”
The chair of the celebration was Hungarian-born U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos of California, the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee. Bush praised Lantos as “a person who understands the difference between freedom and tyranny,” and he thanked Lantos and his wife “for never letting anybody forget that freedom is precious and necessary in our world.”
Last year Lantos introduced a resolution recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian revolution of 1956 and reaffirming the friendship between the people and governments of the United States and Hungary. The resolution was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives. [See the text of the resolution]
On February 13, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hosted a ceremony and reception at the State Department to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. [read more about the event]
See the Video of President Bush's Speech:
See President Bush sign the Hungarian flag!
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