Statement on the 30th Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution


October 23, 1986


Today we observe the 30th anniversary of that unforgettable day, October 23, 1956, when the people of Budapest -- workers, students, soldiers -- rose up in revolt against communism and Soviet occupation, and for freedom and nationhood. Today we commemorate the shining example of idealism, patriotism, and sheer courage that is the immortal legacy of the freedom fighters of the Hungarian Revolution.


In an age when most nations enjoy independence, and free institutions are spreading, the peoples of Eastern Europe cannot be permanently denied their birthrights. We reject such defeatism; more important, East Europeans reject it, too. We see proof of this in the courageous document issued last week in Budapest, East Berlin, Prague, and Warsaw, and signed by 122 prominent people. The signers wrote: ``The traditions and experiences of the Hungarian revolution remain our common heritage and inspiration.'' Recounting that revolt, the workers uprising in East Germany in 1953, the Prague spring of 1968, and Poland's Solidarity trade union movement, the signers pledged to continue to seek democracy, independence, pluralism based on the principle of self-government, and peaceful reunification of a divided Europe.


This declaration tells all of us that brave hearts still beat for the work of true justice among the people. On this 30th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, let all Americans honor the Hungarian freedom fighters with profound gratitude for our own freedom and with renewed solidarity with everyone whose dream is the noble one of freedom.