Hungarians have always thought of the United States as the homeland of freedom, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Tuesday at the inauguration of the statue of late US President George H. W. Bush at Budapest’s Liberty Square.
Every Hungarian knows that America is the land of freedom, a country that welcomed Lajos Kossuth with sincere love, and the building of the US embassy in Budapest’s Szabadság (Liberty) Square has provided refuge for Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty for 15 years, the Hungarian prime minister said.
For “those who are little aware” of this fact, he pointed out that while the monument of German occupation stood at one end of Szabadság Square, the monument of Soviet occupation was erected at the other end. The message is clear: if you are Hungarian, you can only choose between two options: you either stand by the occupiers, or by freedom.
Today, “we pay tribute with a statue to our friend George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States,” Viktor Orban said. A few years ago, the statue of Ronald Reagan, the 40th president was also erected on Liberty Square. Referring to that, PM Orban said: “Here, on this square, there are two Americas who jointly launched a fight against world communism.”
In his closing remarks, the Hungarian premier recalled that during President Bush’s visit to Budapest, a little girl asked him about the three things he would wish for Hungarian children. Freedom, happiness and a long life, he replied.
“So be it! God bless America and Hungary!” Viktor Orban said, concluding his speech.
US ambassador to Budapest David B. Cornstein also recalled the inauguration of Ronald Reagan’s statue on Liberty Square nine years ago. Today, we honour “another American hero of freedom, President George Herbert Walker Bush, and there could be no more appropriate location than here on Liberty Square, so close both to President Reagan and to the US Embassy,” he said, adding that the artwork is a symbol of US-Hungarian bilateral relations and optimism about the future.
The “desire for freedom had never left the Hungarian people, and the collapse of communism in 1989 brought a new dawn to the hopes of freedom-loving people here and everywhere. President Bush’s visit to Hungary in July 1989 was a symbol of that hope,” the ambassador said.
The outgoing ambassador was awarded the Commander’s Cross with Star of the Hungarian Order of Merit by Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Speaking at the ceremony, Viktor Orban stressed that everything changed with the election of Donald Trump and the arrival of David B. Cornstein, and Hungary felt openness, honesty, and a friendly approach on part of the United States. Thanks to the ambassador’s work, Hungarian-US relations have regained their old shine, he noted.
Viktor Orban emphasized that “we root for another victory for US President Donald Trump and extend congratulations on the appointment of the new US Supreme Court judge”.