“1848–49 was an unforgettable period of the awakening of Hungarian national consciousness”, the Minister of Defence said in Budapest on Tuesday 6 October, the Memorial Day of the Martyrs of Arad.

Speaking at the commemoration held at the Batthyány Mausoleum in the Fiume Road National Graveyard, Dr. István Simicskó emphasised that common remembrance is one of the key sources of our national identity and an expression of our national unity.

Minister of Defence Dr. István Simicskó and President of the National Memorial and Tribute Commission Péter Boross in Budapest on Tuesday 6 October, the Memorial Day of the Martyrs of Arad
Photo: Károly ÁRVAI/Prime Minister’s Office
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“The Martyrs of Arad set an example of how we should take responsibility for our spoken words, for each other, for our loved ones and for the nation. During the 1848–49 Revolution and War of Independence, the Hungarian nation felt that we belong together”, he said, adding that this feeling of unity can help us meet the challenges facing us.

Mr. Simicskó said that we “can be liberals, socialists or Christian democrats; we can have all sorts of worldviews”; but we must still respect our parents, our ancestors and everything they created. “It is important not to lose sight of the fact that we must love, serve and defend our country”, the Christian democrat politician pointed out.

1848–49 represented the awakening of Hungarian national consciousness
Photo: Károly ÁRVAI/Prime Minister’s Office
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According to the Minister, the creed of the Arad martyrs was courage, a conscientious and responsible adherence to their beliefs and the highest possible level of patriotism, in addition to which they recognised the problems, came to a decision and acted accordingly.

“There are some who do their duty by sacrificing their lives”, he said, adding that “such were the Martyrs of Arad, late Prime Minister Count Lajos Batthyány and all of the heroic soldiers who fought for the Hungarian nation in 1848–49”.

In memory of the martyrs of the Revolution and War of Independence, wreaths of remembrance were laid by Financial Director of the Office of the President of the Republic György Szabó, on behalf of President János Áder, Minister of Defence Dr. István Simicskó on behalf of the Government, General-in-Chief Dr. Tibor Benkő on behalf of the General Staff, Deputy Speaker Gergely Gulyás on behalf of the National Assembly; and Head of Secretariat András Gulyás on behalf of former President of Hungary Árpád Göncz.

Photo: Károly ÁRVAI/Prime Minister’s Office
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Wreaths were also laid by President of the Constitutional Court Barnabás Lenkovics, Deputy President of the Supreme Court István Kónya, Deputy Prosecutor General István Lajtár, President of the National Memorial and Tribute Commission Péter Boross, President of the National Heritage Institute Katalin Fogarasi Radnainé, in addition to the Budapest Military Attaché Corps, several non-governmental organisations that support national defence, and the representatives of the Municipality of Budapest and the local government of Józsefváros, Budapest’s 8th district.

Following the commemoration, a special history class was held in the Fiume Road National Graveyard at midday. A military guard of honour stood at the Batthyány Eternal Flame, where the public had opportunity to light candles in memory of the Martyrs of Arad until 4 pm.

Photo: István RUZSA/MTI
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The day’s official programs continue at 6 p.m. at the Ludovika Chapel, where a requiem mass will be celebrated by military chaplain László Bíró and a speech will be given by Rector of the National University of Public Service András Patyi. An exhibition entitled “The memory of those left behind”, which opened on 15 March Square on Monday as a tribute to the relatives of the Martyrs of Arad, will remain open to the public until 11 October.

Furthermore, several other commemorative events and conferences are being held on the National Day of Mourning.

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[photo credits-featured image: “Budapest Parlament1”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Budapest_Parlament1.jpg#/media/File:Budapest_Parlament1.jpg]

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