"Today, Veszprém showcases Hungarian culture to the entirety of Europe,” he began his speech, reflecting on the spirit of 1956. He highlighted the importance of understanding and remembering the sacrifices of the 1956 heroes, warning against letting their efforts go in vain.
PM Orbán made several comparisons between the then Soviet Union and the present-day European Union. "Moscow was incorrigible, while the EU can still be corrected," he noted. He reiterated that for Hungarians, the fight for freedom is a duty, a sentiment deeply rooted in history, from the times of King Stephen to the heroes of '56.
Discussing differing perceptions of freedom, PM Orbán highlighted that for Westerners, freedom means escaping from one's origins and identity. In contrast, he emphasized, "for us, freedom is about being who we really are. It's about embracing being Hungarian and Christian."
The prime minister also touched upon the transition from communism to democracy, recalling the events post-1956 where the Communist Party had to acknowledge their wrongdoings to move into the democratic era. "We had to point out that the king was naked, and they couldn't escape the judgment of the people," Orbán stated. He added that the change was achieved without a civil war, avoiding both economic and political collapse, a testament to Hungary's stability in Europe.
Paying homage to the past, Orbán asserted, "1956 eventually triumphed in 1990. Without the legacy of 1956, we couldn't have won, and those executed in the revolution gave us our strongest weapon."
According to PM Orbán, Árpád Brusznyai, a revolutionary from Veszprém who was executed after the revolution, symbolizes the collective Hungarian spirit. "He knew, if we didn't manage to break free, the whole nation would fall into the communist bloc," the prime minister added.
Putting the 1956 revolution into perspective, Orbán recounted the grim statistics: "Around 3,000 died, 20,000 were injured, and more than 200 were executed during the retribution." He emphasized that it was a collective fight for freedom, with victims spanning all societal groups and age brackets. "An entire nation stood on the execution scaffold," he added.
PM Orbán also emphasized the universality of the 1956 experience across Hungary. "Every town has its own '56 story," he noted, deeming it fitting and just to honor the freedom fighters in Veszprém.
Finally, the Prime Minister celebrated Veszprém's historical spirit, stating that "on the day of the Hungarian revolution, we greet the entire world's Hungarians from Veszprém." Drawing attention to the city's proactive nature, he added, "Veszprém was also ahead of its time 1,000 years ago."