Speech by János Áder at the National Memorial Site in the Rákoskeresztúr Cemetery on the Memorial Day to mark the 25th anniversary of the reburial of Imre Nagy and his fellow martyrs, as well as the 25th anniversary of the regime change in Hungary
Probably those who exercised power in the dictatorship hoped on this day that by paying final respects to the victims of the Communist regime – buried face down, in unmarked graves with their limbs bound by wires – the sins of the system they helped to maintain will be forgiven.
Sins are not some kind of luggage that can be left behind when deemed to be no longer necessary. Forgiveness requires an apology, repentance of the sins and penitence.
Therefore this awe-inspiring day awaited by so many could not have been about forgiveness. Nor could it be only about final respects paid together.
For us Hungarians, this day was about the past suffered together, about the enduring common hope that Hungarians cherished in their hearts during the decades of oppression. This was the same hope felt by East Germans, Slovaks, Czechs, Poles, Romanians, Bulgarians and other nations incarcerated in the prison of the Communist bloc.
This hope was about the chance of freedom. It was about the end of dictatorship. For us Hungarians it was about the continuation of the democratic traditions of 1848, about the hope of western style civic development. It was about the hope of regaining our European status and our independence.
June 16th was the day, when after thirty-three years, we first publicly called for the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Hungary. We said for the first time that the sixth coffin symbolising the unnamed heroes held not only the memory of heroes who died for freedom, but also a part of our future because of the legacy of Socialism’s failure. This was the day a desire for free election was first proclaimed publicly. This was the day when the final respects paid to the heroes and martyrs conveyed a message marking the end of a sinful, sad and disgraceful era to every Hungarian and all freedom loving peoples of Europe.
This is how the shared mourning of our nation in June 1989 became the departure point for all our efforts for freedom, independence, European standing and a future.