Speaking at the central ceremony of the Ministry of Defence on the occasion of the Hungarian Defence Forces’ Day, Minister of Defence István Simicskó emphasized that the greatest challenge in the 21st century is the protection of the homeland, Hungary, the survival of the nation.

István Simicskó called the Hungarian Defence Forces’ Day the day of patriotism. He explained that the recapture of Buda Castle on 21 May 1849 – after a siege lasting since 4 May – was an important event that expressed patriotism. Our predecessors sacrificed their lives while fighting to regain Hungary’s independence and freedom, he added.

“The homeland lives in us”, the minister quoted a motto from a poster issued to mark the anniversary of the recapture of Buda Castle, noting that the question is whether it will suffice in the future too, whether future generations can also live as Hungarians.

István Simicskó called it important to ask whether we can sense and evaluate the challenges and dangers of our age the same way. As he said, in this common thinking, “we can often see stormy skirmishes and incitement to hatred too”. He stated that we all have to pursue one goal, which is “the survival of the nation”.

He underlined that everybody – that is, every citizen, regardless of party affiliation – is needed for us to be able to defend the European continent, Hungary, and to make sure that “the homeland is forever”.

The minister pointed out that today, in a period of mass immigration, on seeing Europe undergoing transformation in terms of religion and ethnic groups, we must ask if “the country and the nation as values” will survive until the end of the 21st century. What will the community of the nation mean; what language will be spoken; will people still commemorate the recapture of Buda Castle, Sándor Petőfi or Miklós Zrínyi?”, he went on, adding that “we must remain Hungarians, we must retain our homeland.”

At the central ceremony of the Ministry of Defence on Friday, several medals and recognitions were presented for outstanding performance done for the cause of national defence in the last period. The recipients included the ambassador of Croatia to Budapest, who – as István Simicskó said – has done a lot for further strengthening the Croatian–Hungarian relations and for preventing their deterioration in the migration crisis situation over the last period.

On 21 May 1849, at the end of the Spring Campaign, the Hungarian soldiers successfully recaptured Buda Castle after a three-week siege. Since 1992, 21 May has been designated as the Hungarian Defence Forces’ Day to commemorate this event.

On Sunday, the Hungarian Defence Forces’ Day, a commemorative and wreath-laying ceremony will be held at the Hungarian soldiers’ monument in Dísz Square, Buda Castle. On the same day, the Armory will be opened in the MoD Institute and Museum of Military History, and a commemoration will take place to mark the 80th anniversary of the very first exhibition, which opened in Nádor barracks back in 1937.