A New Year's Eve to Remember
On October 23, 2009, it was another anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 which set me and my fellow political prisoners free. History will record that this spontaneous movement set in motion the reforms in the Soviet Union and behind the Iron Curtain, and led to the dismantling of the Communist Empire. Without the Hungarian Revolution there would not have been perestroika and glasnost, and that ugly wall in Berlin would still be standing.
Hungary is the nation, which seven years after the Magna Carta, demanded and received the Golden Bull which curtailed the power of an absolute monarch. Also, this nation fought valiantly for 150 years against Turkish occupation with many foreign volunteers helping, among them young John Smith from England who later became the first European legislative body to pass an Act granting religious tolerance to its citizens. The Diet in Torda (Transylvania-Hungary) declared in the year of 1557:
Each person may hold whatever religious faith he wishes, with old or new rituals, while we at the same time leave it to their judgment to do as they please in the matter of their faith, just so long, however, as they bring no harm to bear on anyone at all…."
CERTIFICATION - The Revolutionary Committee of the Hungarian Youths certifies that Sandor Szegedi, political prisoner, who was born in the year of 1921, resides at 2 St. Stephen Blvd., Budapest, on this day was freed, based on the decision of the Revolutionary Committee of the Office of the Attorney General.
We request that the authorities give him all the necessary help toward his resettlement.
Budapest, October 31, 1956
For a few days we enjoyed freedom, but then the Soviet tanks rolled back to Hungary and we became refugees. We found ourselves in friendly Vienna, in the proverbial one-shirt on our back. Although our country was enslaved again, my fiancee and I were among the 200,000 refugees who were free.
The whole world opened its welcoming arms, and we could have settled anywhere. Without hesitation we registered for a visa at the American Embassy. About thirty days later it was Christmas Eve, we received a telegram to be, the next morning at 6 o'clock, in front of the American Embassy. It was very cold; some ladies from the Embassy brought to us a cup of hot soup. We boarded the waiting buses and were on our way to a re-opened refugee camp.
After a few days we boarded a long Red Cross train and 2000 refugees were on their way to Bremerhaven to board an American ship. As the train crossed Germany in the dark very cold winter night, our train slowly approached the train station of Bremerhaven.
It was 3 a.m., New Year's Eve, and there was an incredible sight waiting for us. In the distance we saw the twinkling lights of a large city celebrating the New Year, among them the American military personnel - but not all of them. As our train came to a halt, there they were, a volunteer American military band playing music in the bone-chilling night. The 2,000 tired, cold, frightened, homeless and sad refugees arrived like royalty. Only the red carpet was missing.
This unforgettable moment is etched in my heart forever. Through my teary eyes I saw my future country, a big-hearted people opening their arms to welcome us homeless refugees. Thank you, America.
Dr. Alexander, Szegedy, Clearwater
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