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President János Áder, addressing Hungary’s National Defence Day celebration, called for dedication to Hungary’s freedom, independence and strength. Speaking at a ceremony held in the Castle District on Tuesday, Áder said Hungarians in 1848-49 declared their desire for freedom, concord and the equality of citizens. “That’s why they placed the homeland before everything else,” he said. “They knew that when freedom was under threat, it was only with a common will they could protect it.” Hungary organised its own defences and tens of thousands volunteered, Áder noted. “Enthusiastic volunteers became true soldiers in the midst of battle.” Though in the end Hungary’s freedom fight was stifled in autumn 1849, the soldiers’ “heroic fight bore fruit: it became a point of reference, a measurement of patriotism and faithfulness,” Áder said.

At the ceremony, the president handed over the Regimental Flag for the National Command of the military, which Commander Ferenc Korom took over.

National Defence Day marks the anniversary of May 21, 1849, when the independent Hungarian army succeeded in recapturing the castle of Buda after a three-week siege.