The reburial of Imre Nagy marked the revival of Hungarian politics

“Today is about paying tribute to the ideas of courage, patience and wisdom,” State Secretary Eszter Vitályos said in a speech earlier today, commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the reburial of former Prime Minister Imre Nagy.

Some moments are burned into the memory of a nation. Such was the case 33 years ago, on June 16, 1989, when hundreds of thousands gathered in Budapest’s Heroes’ Square to attend the reburial of Imre Nagy, the martyred prime minister of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight, and his companions.

Thirty-three years ago today, a young politician, a certain Viktor Orbán, rose to nationwide fame with a speech at the reburial ceremony where he demanded free elections for Hungary and the immediate withdrawal of Soviet troops from the country.

Earlier today, in a speech commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the reburial of Imre Nagy, Eszter Vitályos, state secretary at the Ministry of Culture and Innovation, said that “today is about paying tribute to the ideas of courage, patience and wisdom.” According to the state secretary, the 1956 Revolution was a celebration of courage; the period between November 4, 1956, and June 16, 1989, marked the importance of patience; and the remainder of 1989 was a reminder to Hungarians of the virtue of wisdom.

In June 1989, she said, they reburied those who were previously dishonorably buried, "because it is not right that those who were bloodily and mercilessly massacred by the communist dictatorship should not be honored, even if they were once among them." She then added, "that is the difference between them and us.” In Vitályos’s view, 33 years ago, everything that the youth of March and the lads of Pest fought for could come true. “The Hungarians were brave, patient and wise, and their reward was peace: political, social, economic and cultural peace,” she said.

The state secretary said that the message of the current Christian democratic government is "order instead of chaos, love instead of discord, peace instead of war.”

“This has been the case for the past 12 years,” Vitályos added, explaining that the government stood by the dams in the face of floods, bailed out troubled municipalities, came to the rescue of foreign currency debtors, created a million new jobs, stopped illegal migration, curbed the coronavirus epidemic, introduced the most generous family support system in Europe, and fought to secure — and has since protected — the lowest utility bills on the continent.

"All this to preserve our hard-won and cherished peace in our nation and in our families," Vitályos said.

Addressing Hungarians living both inside and outside the country, the state secretary said that the threats to Hungary are no less serious today than in 1956. We must respond to the challenges facing our country with the same courage, patience and wisdom as the Hungarians did from 1956 all the way through 1989.

Today, we must have the courage to speak fundamental truths: "The mother is a woman, the father is a man, the future is in the family and in our children,” she said, adding that "preserving our culture and our faith does not weaken the continent, but strengthens it.” Patience, Vitályos continued, now equates with strategic calm, which trusts in meaningful dialogue and urges for conflicts to be resolved while not allowing the Hungarian people to suffer the consequences.

"And wisdom means learning from the past, not letting our own destiny slip out of our hands, and teaching our children to do the same," she said, noting in conclusion that only those who are courageous, patient and wise can create peace.