Budapest Mayor István Tarlós told the commemoration held at the Budapest mausoleum of Count Lajos Batthyány, prime minister of Hungary’s first independent government, that it was because of their patriotism, character, loyalty to their nation and desire for freedom that the Arad martyrs had been ready to “die bloody deaths”. “Determination and resistance: that is the life testimony of the martyrs,” Tarlós said, adding that October 6, 1849 had been a day of “deep mourning” for every Hungarian. Austria’s “brutal retaliations” shocked not only the Hungarian nation but also the European public, the mayor said, adding that the curtailment of Hungary’s national independence, however, had failed to thwart the spread of civic thought. After the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, Hungary was given domestic political autonomy, but the territorial integrity of the multinational country was left intact, Tarlós noted.
The speeches were followed by a wreath-laying ceremony honouring Batthyány, the Arad martyrs and every victim of the revolution and freedom fight of 1848/49. Commemorations started in the morning with the national flag flying at half-mast in front of Parliament with a military salute. October 6 was declared a national day of mourning in 2001.