INVITATION: Memorial Day 2007 in Arlington Cemetery
WHEN: Sunday, May 27, 2007 (Memorial Day
Weekend), 1:30 pm
The American Hungarian Federation cordially invites you to participate in a special Memorial Day Commemoration Ceremony to honor Hungarian-American military heroes and the common bonds that have tied Hungarians and Americans together inextricably from the start. This year, AHF is honored to have received a United States Honor Guard Escort and wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier at 2:15pm.
Representatives from NATO, both the US and Hungarian military, Hungarian American leaders, and representatives from the Hungarian Embassy are expected to attend. Arlington National is the final resting place for a number of Hungarian American Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. The program includes a roll-call of present and past Hungarian and American Military Veterans. Names of our deceased heroes will be included. If you have a loved one who served in the military, we want to know! The California Hussars will escort us on our walking tour of Hungarian American gravesites.
Current and ex-military are requested to identify themselves. RSVP by calling Yvette Görög-Boone at (301) 664-9696. Those authorized to wear uniforms are encouraged to wear Class A or Dress Blue. We have vehicle access - please mention "American Hungarian Federation."
Did you know there are at least 8 Hungarian-American recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor and many of them are buried at Arlington National? Read more below or visit our Website www.americanhungarianfederation.org!
Highlights from 2006:
5/29/2006 - Successful Memorial Day Commemoration Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. About 40 members and guests which included representatives from NATO, both the US and Hungarian military, Hungarian American leaders, and representatives from the Hungarian Embassy witnessed the Memorial Day ceremony. Arlington National is the final resting place for a number of Hungarian American Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. Following the program that included a roll call in honor of those in present and past military service and a presentation on Hungarian and American military traditions, the group proceeded on a walking tour of 8 additional Hungarian American gravesites scattered throughout the sprawling grounds. Details about those brave men can be seen to the right.
Bryan Dawson-Szilagyi, AHF Executive Committee Chair (seen here placing the AHF commemorative ribbon on the grave of Capt. Akos Szekely who died a hero's death in Vietnam), wrote, "Most special to me was that our commemoration had such a unique historical perspective... A perspective that gave us a deeper understanding of the noble depths of the Hungarian military tradition - a tradition that so many families carried on and one we must honor by remembrance...[With the descendants of Gens. Asboth and Kozlay there with us] We literally touched history - a history across generations, centuries, and continents. A few highlights:
The descendants of Gen. Kozlay met with the descendant of Gen. Asboth for the first time (Gusztav Asboth is seen here on the left with Hungarian Military Attache Janos Varga). We learned that Gen. Eugene Kozlay served under Lajos Asboth, Sandor's older brother, in the 1848-49 war. Eugene Kozlay also knew Sandor in New York, and he is mentioned several times in Eugene's diary in the 1848 revolution. Hungary recognized the Kozlays with the Pro Cultura Hungarica award after they donated Gen Kozlay's manuscripts to the Petöfi Literary Museum in Budapest. We witnessed these great Hungarian families shake hands in 2006. A number of those present at Gen. Asboth's re-internment returned to commemorate his contributions once again.
We met Shirley Olchvary whose husband, Col. Paul Olchvary, served with distinction in the US Army (his father, Col. Istvan Olchvary served in the Hungarian Chief-of-Staff's Office and graduated from the famed Ludovika Military Academy as did another AHF member - Gabor Olah). It was interesting to hear how Col. Olchvary and Lt. Col. Vekony both joined military service "to give back" what America had given to their parents. A sentiment that rings true to me and so many Hungarian Americans of that generation.
We learned that a nephew of the Lendvais (Imre is seen here to the left of AHF Chairman of the Board Akos Nagy) is head of the International Hungarian Boyscouts) is currently serving in Iraq.
We met the son of Francis Gary Powers the US national hero who risked his life and was shot down in his high-altitude spyplane over the red skies of the Soviet Union. Francis Jr. (seen here to the left of Janet and Doug Kozlay, Pro Cultura Hungarica plaque recipients) carries on the fight to make sure the world remembers his father and Soviet tyranny as Founder and President of the Cold War Museum.
We heard 1956 Freedom Fighter and former US Army officer Zoltan Bagdy and Dr. Imre Toth, a former lieutenant in the Hungarian Army and the last surviving Secretary of the Revolutionary Committee for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Imre Nagy Government in 1956, call out the names of so many of our brothers who served the cause of freedom.
We received recommendations for the roll call from far and wide, including the President of the 25th Infantry Regiment Association, the regiment of Silver Star hero Akos Szekely. Others included Paul de Holczer and Joe Ivany who lost his son in Iraq.
In this year, the 50th anniversary year of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, it was particularly poignant to see freedom fighters share this day with American and Hungarian military officials that included the Military Attaches to the United States (Col. Varga and Maj. Bone) and Hungary's NATO representative (Col. Juhasz). Congratulations are in order for Lt. Col Vekony and Maj. Bone for an excellent exchange and presentation.
Finally, we touched the stones that serve as reminders of the heroes buried there... heroes that fought in American battles that spanned 3 centuries. These men are not forgotten. What an example Bela Kovach, an AHF member from Ohio, who travels to Hungary to kiss the grave of Alexander Asboth's parents each year, in keeping with Asboth's last wishes. No, Gen. Asboth, your parents are also not forgotten.
May the unity we found yesterday continue and permeate all things we do."
The American Hungarian Federation (AHF) established the Colonel Commandant Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom to honor outstanding individuals and recognize their life's achievements, dedication to freedom and democracy, promotion of transatlantic relations, and meritorious contribution to society. The award, AHF's highest honor, is open to Hungarians and non-Hungarians alike.
Inscribed on the medal is AHF's Motto, “Fidelissimus ad Mortem" or "Faithful Unto Death,” which represents Hungarian American historical committment to the United States. The motto was taken from a letter written by former Hussar Officer Michael Kováts to Benjamin Franklin. Kovats, known as a Founding Father of the US Cavalry, offered his sword in service to the United States. On May 11, 1779, Colonel Kovats gave his life in the American War for Independence while leading the Continental Army cavalry he had trained in Hungarian hussar tactics against a British siege of Charleston. The British remarked that Kovats' forces were "the best cavalry the rebels ever had." He is immortalized in the almost lifesize portrait by Gabriella Koszrous-Varsa seen here. He is immortalized at the Citadel Miltary Academy in South Carolina as they honor him and named "Kovats Field" after him. The Hungarian Embassy, too, has a statue in his honor sculpted by Paul Takacs and executed by Attila Dienes.
Just as Kovats’ life and service is celebrated annually by US Military Cadets at the Citadel, the motto reflects AHF virtues, and historically and inextricably ties Hungarians and Americans together while symbolizing Hungarians’ contributions and sacrifices to America’s beginning. Among the oldest ethnic organizations in the US, AHF was founded in 1906 in Cleveland, Ohio, and established as an association of Hungarian societies, institutions and churches to “defend the interest of Americans of Hungarian origin in the United States.”
See [Kovats Medal Recipients]
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Hungarian Americans in Arlington Cemetery
[Download the May 29, 2006 program] or see below to learn more about the Hungarian Americans buried at Arlington National Cemetery. IF YOU KNOW additional Hungarian Americans buried in Arlington National, please contact us!
the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, he was wounded in the left arm. Despite
the wound, he saddled up next morning. His arm was later shattered and
a bullet lodged under his cheek in the Marianna engagement in Florida.
In 1866, he was appointed U.S. Minister to Argentina and Uruguay. The
wound in his cheek failed to heal, and on January 21, 1868, he died and
was buried in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He finally came home on October
23, 1990 to full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery thanks
to the Hungarian Freedom Fighters’ Federation. His grandson attended
the funeral and is in the Virginia National Guard. Read more about him
Stahel received the US Congressional Medal of Honor for
his bravery at the Battle of Piedmont in Virginia. While wounded, the
General led a cavalry charge which led to a Union victory. In 1866 President
Andrew Johnson appointed Stahel consul in Japan where he succeeded in
opening additional ports to American trade. In 1884 he was made consul
in Shanghai, China.
As he and a comrade prepared to clear the area, he heard
an incoming grenade as it landed in the midst of the team's perimeter.
With complete disregard for his own life, he threw himself on the grenade
and, covering it with his body, received the complete impact of the immediate
explosion. By gallantry at the cost of his life in the highest traditions
of the military service, he has reflected great credit upon himself and
the US Army.
Ákos Dezsö Székely
complete disregard for his own personal safety, he moved about the bullet
swept area, and while engaging the enemy with his M-16 rifle, Captain
Szekely was mortally wounded. His valorous actions contributed immeasurably
to the successful completion of his mission and the defeat of the enemy
force. He appears to be the only Hungarian American whose tombstone uses
Hungarian accented characters. When competing for an appointment to West
Point, Representative John R. Foley, Sixth Maryland District, reported
his selection from the large number of finalists with this remark: “Akos
Szekely…the most unique, special, and outstanding student I ever
appointed to the United States Military Academy.” He would go on
to rank near the top in all of his academic courses and graduated number
five in his class on 3 June 1964, and has been recognized as the highest
ranking graduate of Hungarian ancestry from any of the United States Service
As former president of Collins and Aikman Decorative Fabrics, he presided over the world's leading fabric group. He joined Mastercraft in 1946, became president in 1960, assumed ownership in 1969, and is responsible for the company's meteoric rise, which today provides employment for 3,500 and sales in excess of $350 million. The recipient of numerous industry and civic awards, including the first Lifetime Leadership Award from Dupont in 1995, which embodied his creativity, devotion and legendary status in the industry. In 2002 he received ''The Trailblazer Award'' and was inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame.
He will always be remembered for his wit, generosity and love of life.
In lieu of flowers the family asked for contributions to the Andrew Major
Scholarship Fund at Isothermal Community College, P.O. Box 804, 288 ICC
Loop Road, Spindale, N.C. 28160. BURIED
AT: COLUMBARIUM, SECTION 5-OO ROW 10 SITE 6
Nicholas Ferencz, III
Alexander de Holczer
Did you know there are at least 8 Hungarian American recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor? Read more about Maj. General Asboth and other Hungarian American Military Heroes on The Hungary Page's "Nobel Prize Winners and Famous Hungarians" Military Section.