In his speech, the Prime Minister said that it is a “millennium-old truth” that there must be “unity in the most important things, freedom in other things and love in all things”.
Mr. Orbán called 23 October the day of pride. “The bright memory of October 1956 belongs to us all; it is a common heritage that uplifts and cleanses, even after 60 years”, he said, stressing that “We have our heroes of 1956 to thank for the fact that we had something to be proud of – even during the darkest years of Hungarian history”.
In his speech, the Prime Minister extended a special welcome to the ceremony’s guest of honour, Polish President Andrzej Duda, and described the friendship between the Hungarian and Polish peoples as an “age-old friendship between two freedom-loving, courageous nations”. In recognition of this, he declared “God save Poland!”
“Hungarians never relinquish freedom”, he said, stating that in Budapest in October 1956 “the course of history was reversed”, and that “instead of the prophesised global communist revolution, a revolution against the communist world broke out”. He added that “we sent a message to the West” that the Soviet Union was vulnerable, and that in this world the only permanent stars are those atop church spires.
The Hungarians, he continued, survived the communist and Soviet occupations and can stand here today “with our heads held high as the self-assured sons and daughters of a strong Hungary”, adding that they toppled the communist party state, sent the Russians home and rid their homeland of “the residual consequences of the dictatorship”.
According to Mr. Orbán, in 1956 communism – which until then was believed to be immovable – suffered a wound from which it could not recover; after 1956 the regime and its leaders “entered into a deal with the devil”.
The Prime Minister said that nobody knows the origins of the Hungarians’ strength and ability to attack from nowhere, and “once every hundred years to be capable of miracles, like a David with his sling”. He suggested that “Perhaps we possess the same ancient knowledge as that of the Greeks two and a half thousand years ago, who believed that the secret to a happy life was freedom, and that the secret of freedom is courage”.
Hungarians have a natural capacity for freedom, he said, but freedom is not a state which one aspires to, but a way of life: “like swimming, those who stop doing it drown”.
Mr. Orbán continued by saying that if a nation relinquishes its freedom, then it can at any time slide back to simply being a minority. “Only our own national independence can save us from surrendering to the all-consuming destructive appetites of empires”, he said, adding that “The reason we stuck in the throat of the Soviet empire was that we asserted our national ideals”.
The Prime Minister said that this is one of the reasons that it is unacceptable for the EU to become a modern-day empire, or for the alliance of free European states to be replaced by a United States of Europe.
The task of Europe’s freedom-loving peoples today is to save Brussels from “sovietisation”, and from “their desire to decide instead of us who we should live with in our own homeland”, he declared.
“We Hungarians want to be a European nation, and not a minority in Europe”, he said.
As the heirs of 1956, he continued, “we cannot accept that Europe could want to sever the roots that once made us great and which also helped us survive communist oppression”, adding that “There can be no free, strong, authoritative and respected Europe without the life force of nations and the two thousand-year-old wisdom of Christianity”.
The Prime Minister also spoke about the fact that, every thirty years, history pushes Hungary into the mainstream of heated debates on the future of the continent: this was the case in 1956, when Hungarians wanted to push the Iron Curtain past their eastern border, and in 1989, when “it was we who had to open the border to allow Germans to find their way to other Germans”. Meanwhile in 2015–2016 “we were the ones who had to close the border to stop the flood of immigration from the South”.
“We have continued to do our duty, even while we have been attacked from behind, by those we have in fact been protecting”, the Prime Minister declared. Hungarians have the courage to face up to injustice, because that does not relieve one of duties, and accordingly “Europe can always count on us”, he stressed.
“There will always be dramatic situations, strong adversaries and high stakes, but this is no reason for us to surrender to fear”, he said. “We must not give ground to terrorists who declare war on the Western world, nor to profit-seekers who send here people who are searching for a better life in Europe, nor to naive souls who have no idea into what extreme peril they are pushing Europe and themselves”, Mr. Orbán said.
The Prime Minister said that Hungary chose the more difficult path when it “chose its own children instead of immigrants, created work instead of speculation and benefits, achieved self-sufficiency instead of debt slavery and chose border protection instead of raising its hands in surrender”.
Mr. Orbán also said that “there can be no victory without the uplifting of hearts”, and that without this 1956 would never have happened. “Regardless of political dominance, a parliamentary majority or a new constitution, victory cannot be achieved again without the uplifting of hearts, without the spiritual awakening of Hungary and the Hungarian people”, he said, adding that it is a “millennium-old truth” that there must be “unity in the most important things, freedom in other things and love in all things”.
The Prime Minister closed his speech with the words: “Glory to the brave; Go for it Hungary! Go for it Hungarians!”
Among the people filling Kossuth Square, many were waving Hungarian flags, and Polish flags were also visible.