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Hungarians have been bound together by their wish for a free and independent Hungary for generations, President Katalin Novák said in her speech at a ceremony in Parliament on Tuesday, where the Széchenyi and Kossuth prizes and the Orders of Merit of the Republic of Hungary were presented. “We Hungarians must build on what has maintained us for a thousand years: the Christian faith and our love of the nation will show us the way even at times of change, trouble or triumph,” she said at the event held a day ahead of Hungary’s national holiday on March 15. These days, preserving and renewing personal, family and national identity “is not only a life-vest in the storms around us but also the means to prosperity,” she said. The love of the country has motivated those who are being awarded today for their achievements in arts, science or public service, Novák said. “We are proud and grateful to you for achieving professional merit and fame not only for yourselves but for the entire nation,” she said.