Top: part of crowd at plaque, w. 1st Selectman Michael Tetreau 3rd from right; Center: Rev. Tibor Király, Leading Consul Király Zsuzsanna, Csonka Tünde; Bottom: Gyula Gyenis, Olivér Valu, Szíki Károly
The mild, sunny afternoon of Sunday, October 22nd brought out a nice crowd for the laying of the Leading Consul’s wreath of remembrance and Magyar Studies of America’s basket of flowers at the 1956 memorial plaque by Fairfield Town Hall in Connecticut. The invocation was given by Rev. Tíbor Király of the Calvin United Church of Christ, married just two days previously (see the report on his wedding elsewhere in this issue).
First Selectman Michael Tetreau honored us with his presence, as usual, and emphasized the importance of passing on national traditions to the next generation.
The main address, delivered by Leading Consul Király Zsuzsanna, followed up on this theme, declaring that we Hungarians were able to stay alive for over a thousand years through wars, uprisings and other calamities because the God of history helps those who work for values. Today, we once again have the role of defenders in Europe, defending Christianity within the European Union.
Olivér Valu sang “Szép vagy, gyönyörü vagy Magyarország” in his beautiful baritone, followed by Tünde Csonka who recited a poem about the youth of Pest, and sang several songs.
Freedom Fighter Gyula Gyenis then shared his memories of 1956. He was at the Radio station where the peaceful demonstration was fired upon by the ÁVO and where someone handed him a shotgun. He spoke about a young man on a bicycle who did not heed warnings and whom he saved from being shot by the ÁVO in the museum park. Although he was then assigned to help distribute clothing, food and medication sent from the US and Sweden, he carried that gun under his coat, and it wasn’t long before he was told by the janitor of his building that the police were looking for him. So in mid-November he headed for Tatabánya, and together with thousands of others, went on from there to Austria. (Details of that final crossing are described in our “Small World” section.)
To conclude the commemoration, the actor Szíki Károly had come from Eger, Hungary to present a program entitled “1956 – On the streets of Pest, for freedom”. As he said, the poets of the time all bowed before the young people who so valiantly carried the burden of the fight for freedom, literally giving their all for the liberty of their country. And he asked what OUR response would have to be to such heroic sacrifice? It is now OUR duty, he explained, to carry on what was done by the youth on the streets of Pest, to write the books and make the videos for people to see and understand that the Revolution was meaningful, that it made sense.
You could tell it had been a good observance because people lingered long in conversation over their coffee and delicious goodies which the ladies of the community had baked. Many thanks to all who organized this event and who contributed to the success of the afternoon!