The 20th Anniversary of the US Capitol Dedication of the Bust of Louis Kossuth
3/16/2010 - 20th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Kossuth Bust in the US Capitol... To celebrate and commemorate the friendship and shared values between the people of the United States and those of Hungarian descent, the American Hungarian Federation commissioned a bronze bust of Lajos Kossuth and offered it to U.S. Congress in 1990. AHF leaders and members of the community joined Congress, the Hungarian Embassy, and the Lantos Foundation in a commemoration of the 20th anniversary of its unveiling in the US Capitol.
Kossuth Lajos (b. 1802, d. 1894, pronounced co-shoot luh-yôsh) was Governor of Hungary during the 1848-1849 War of Liberation for independence and democracy which was eventually defeated by the union of the royalist Austrian Habsburg and Russian Czarist Armies (1848 - 1849). Kossuth envisioned a federation in the Kingdom of Hungary in which all nationalties participated in a vibrant democratic system based on fundamental democratic principles such as equality and parliamentary representation. Seeking US help to revive the fight for Hungarian freedom, he remarked before the Ohio State Legislature, "The spirit of our age is Democracy. All for the people and all by the people. Nothing about the people, without the people. That is Democracy, and that is the ruling tendency of the spirit of our age." - His "all for the people" speech from which the above excerpt is taken was given over a decade before Lincoln's famed "for the people, by the people" speech given at Gettysburg in 1863. Kossuth was the first foreign Statesman officially invited to the US since the Marquis de Lafayette. Louis Kossuth, spoken before the Ohio State Legislature, February 16, 1852, more than a decade before Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
Annette Lantos, wife of the late Congressman Tom Lantos from California, who, with Dr. Kay Atkinson King, was instrumental in making the 1990 dedication possible, recalled the emotional unveiling of the bust. Kay A. King, Ph.D., former Lantos Senior Policy Advisor and now Director of Interparliamentary Affairs, United States House of Representatives shared her very personal and emotional experiences at the 1990 dedication and commented on the how the the event represented more than Hungary's 1848 fight for democracy and Louis Kossuth remarkable impact on the US. She reminded the audience that 1990 saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, the overthrow of Nicolae Ceaucescu and new governments through Central and Eastern Europe. She recalled the emotion of hearing Bishop Laszlo Tokes share his experiences and his major role in the Rumanian revolution.
Additional speakers included Hungarian Ambasador Béla Szombati; Tomika (Tomicah) Tillemann, Ph.D., the Lantos' grandson and Speechwriter and Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of State; Márta Kúr Brooks, daughter of the late sculptor Csaba Kúr; and AHF President Frank Koszorus. Lydia Nyerges, member of the the 4th Bátori József Hungarian Scouts Troop of Washington, DC, performed a flute solo of the "Kossuth Hymn" or "Kossuth Lajos Azt Uzente." The audience followed Mrs. Lantos' lead in singing the hymn.
Mr. Koszorus commented on the inextricable ties between the United States and Hungary. He said Kossuth's dream of ethnic tolerance in the Carpathian is not yet realized and thanked Congressman Kucinich an the Lantos Foundation for their support on issues such as the Slovak Language Law. The full text is below or available for [download].
A wreath-laying ceremony at the Kossuth Bust concluded the event. [Additional Photos] also courtesy of Dr. Imre Nemeth
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AHF 100 YEARS DISPLAYS
"the house of Habsburg-Lorraine, perjured in the sight of
God and man, had forfeited the Hungarian throne."
"All for the people and all by the people. Nothing about
the people without the people. That is Democracy, and that is the ruling
tendency of the spirit of our age."
Kossuth Lajos (b. 1802, d. 1894, pronounced co-shoot luh-yôsh) was Governor of Hungary during the 1848-1849 War of Liberation for independence and democracy which was eventually defeated by the union of the royalist Austrian Habsburg and Russian Czarist Armies (1848 - 1849). Kossuth envisioned a federation in the Kingdom of Hungary in which all nationalties participated in a vibrant democratic system based on fundamental democratic principles such as equality and parliamentary representation. The bloody conflict eventually led to a great compromise known as the "Austro-Hungarian Empire," in which Hungary gained some autonomy. although Kossuth would have no part in it and demanded full indepependence until his death.
His "all for the people" speech from which the above excerpt is taken was given over a decade before Lincoln's famed "for the people, by the people" speech given at Gettysburg in 1863. Kossuth was the first foreign Statesman officially invited to the US since the Marquis de Lafayette. His upcoming speech in the Congress of the United States made the pre-civil war joint house nervous due to his democratic views on equality of all men. Kossuth learned English while in prison and exile and spoke to half the population of the US who enthusiastically greeted and flocked to hear him. Despite Hungary's epic struggle and Kossuth's brave and noble efforts, the US, the "Bastion of Democracy" turned him away, empty handed. Hungary was alone again in its fight for democracy in 1956, and didn't regain freedom until 1989.
Today, there are many reminders of Kossuth's impact on America and the world. In North America, there is a Kossuth County in the state of Iowa, a town with his name in Indiana, Ohio and Mississippi, a settlement with a Kossuth Post Office is in Pennsylvania. In addition, there are Kossuth statues and plaques in New York, Cleveland, Akron, New Orleans, Washington, and Ontario, Canada. The Hungarian Reformed Federation's building on Dupont Circle, in Washington, DC is called Kossuth House with a memorial plaque commemorating his speech on democracy. See the picture gallery and memorials on Louis Kossuth in North America.
"[we] have been hungry to see the man whose extraordinary eloquence is seconded by the splendor and the solidity of his actions."
Kossuth was greeted with wild enthusiasm across the country. He was only the second foreign leader (second to Lafayette) to address a joint session of Congress.
Hear Louis Kossuth Speak! [Click Here] and follow the transcript below - This is the speech of Louis Kossuth which he gave for the dedication of the statue for the 13 Hungarian generals, who were executed at Arad, Hungary, on October 6, 1849 (Arad is in Rumania today after annexation due to the Treaty of Trianon in 1920 ). Louis Kossuth was exiled after the fall of the Hungarian Liberation Fight of 1848 and made his permanent home in Torino (Turin), Italy. He could not attend the dedication of the monument at Arad, without risking arrest, so he recorded his speech in Turin, and sent it to Arad using the new technology of sound recording, called the phonograph.
The recording was made on September 20, 1890, when Kossuth was 88 years old. It is a sad fact that the monument Kossuth sent his speech for was torn down by the Rumanian government when they annexed Transylvania, along with Arad, in 1920, after World War I.
The original recording on two wax cylinders for the Edison phonograph survives to this day, although barely audible due to excess playback and unsuccessful early restoration attempts. Lajos Kossuth is the earliest born person in the world who has his voice preserved. Since the audio is of such poor quality, here is it is transcribed in Hungarian and translated to English (special thanks to Louis Kossuth in North America)
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