Sea Girt, New Jersey
January 8, 2002
The monument itself is an elegant tribute to the leader of the Hungarian Uprising. Imre Varga, Hungary's best known contemporary sculptor, has depicted Nagy as a solemn, contemplative and accessible figure dressed in a neat raincoat and hat, standing at the center of graceful footbridge. The life-like bronze figure gazes off into the distance, towards the imposing Parliament building across the park. The bridge spans a small pond, which reflects the bridge and statue. The symbolism and emotion captured in this simple yet moving sculpture are extraordinary. The small triangular park that surrounds the monument is lined with benches - it is a very peaceful and moving setting.
It is helpful to know the turbulent political/historical past of Budapest and Hungary to properly appreciate the country and its people. The city has been battered throughout the centuries by invaders, from the Mongols and Turks to Nazis and Soviets domination. When you realize what the city has endured throughout history, your appreciation for the beauty and stamina of Budapest can't help but grow.
We were in Budapest on October 23, Remembrance Day - a national holiday to commemorate and mourn those killed in the 1956 Uprising. One source states that 30,000 citizens were killed by Soviet tanks during the Uprising, and an additional 200,000 fled Hungary. It was a solemn day to be in Budapest, as many of the older citizens still harbored vivid memories of that period. Wreaths were laid at Nagy's monument, and several older gentlemen stood over the plaque commemorating the fallen leader. Throughout the city, official and makeshift memorials were erected, and we often saw locals praying and lighting candles together in the streets.
From journal Romantic Budapest