Celebrating March 15 with the Hungarian Community in Seattle

by Ferenc Huszár, translated by Kinga Bíbor Nagy

In March, we visited our son who is staying in Seattle since September 2022 with the Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Scholarship. Every moment of our trip will remain an eternal memory. The sights and the kind, attentive love of the Hungarians living here is unforgettable.

One of the highlights of our trip came from the preservation of Hussar traditions related to the March 15th memorial. I put on the Hussar’s uniform, strapped the sword to my side, put my shako on my head, straightened my pelisse and entered the Hungarian community – among children, little ones and elders, scouts, parents, grandparents, the members of the Washington American Hungarian Association. I already experienced something similar four years ago in New Jersey, but we know that no two situations are the same.

Csaba Orbán, commander of the 45th István Fekete Scout Team, started the ceremony with Sándor Petőfi’s twins poem, “The Song of the Dogs” (A kutyák dala) and “The Song of the Wolves” (A farkasok dala), encouraging the audience to compare and understand the content behind the lines. The closing lines of The Song of the Wolves  say it all:

‘Hunger gnaws the belly,
Cold gnaws the bone,
Two torturers who will not
Leave us alone.

And there, the third torturer,
Guns loaded with lead:
On the white, white snow
Our blood drips red.

Freezing and starving
And peppered with shot.
Yes, our lot is misery …
But Freedom is our lot!”

(Translated by Fraser, G. S.)

The event began with a ceremonial procession, placing the flags and laying wreaths at the carved wooden headboard. I took the floor after placing the flowers of respect.

Speaking about the Hussars, homeland, revolution, and freedom 9,000 km from home was uplifting. I was deeply moved by the attention and love that surrounded me. The attention, the sparkling children’s eyes, and the reassuring adult looks will remain in my heart forever. I wanted to give them everything that I am, what I think about this tradition that our ancestors taught us. The many self-sacrifices, struggles, the fight for freedom. The adults were also very open: parents and grandparents came to me. The struggle of the Hungarian community, the preservation of the language, the memories of the past, and their sacrificial work are invaluable. It gives me deep respect.

The Commemoration was amazing. Scouts, children and adults recited the poems evoking the revolution and the war of independence, as well as the events of the revolution. Meanwhile, we sang the Kossuth and Hussar songs together. In Emese Orbán’s interpretation, the indispensable ‘National Song’ (Nemzeti dal) was given a completely new light. Hearing Lona Lugosi’s ‘The Sea has Revolted’ (Feltámadott a tenger) made me stand riveted to the earth. Children, far from my country, read difficult poems in Hungarian.

God bless the scout leaders, teachers, and parents who carry on traditions and lead the children on this path.

After the ceremony, another wreath-laying took place. We also commemorated the heroes and paid tribute to the memory of the revolution at the Statue of Liberty located on the shore of the bay in West Seattle.

Thank you for letting us be a part of the celebration. God bless this community!

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