Hungary’s national flag was hoisted with full military honours and lowered to half-mast in front of Parliament to mark the anniversary of the 1848-49 war of independence and the martyrs of Arad, at an event attended by Defence Minister Tibor Benkő. The flag remained at half-mast throughout the day in tribute to the martyrs on the national day of mourning.
The celebrations continued at the Fiumei Road cemetery, where Benkő laid a wreath and delivered a speech at the mausoleum of Count Lajos Batthyány, Hungary’s first prime minister. Benkő said the Hungarian people had always fought for freedom during their thousand-year history. “Not only can we call ourselves the people of freedom … but we can also say that we never give up the fight [for freedom]”, he added. Benkő said Hungary’s fights for freedom throughout history were not waged in vain. “Today we can live here in the Carpathian Basin as Hungarians, dedicated to the peace and security of our nation,” he said. The cemetery hosted students and visitors all day for walks and talks on the period.
The government declared October 6 Hungary’s national day of mourning in 2001, in commemoration of the 13 martyrs executed in Arad following the crushing of the revolution. Batthyány, also commemorated on this day, was executed in Pest.