Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day and Communism?

Today was a special Memorial Day for me, my first Memorial Day outside of the United States. When I look back, I will be able to say that Mr.C. and I spent the day in a very unique and meaningful way.

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Mr. C. and I arrived in Hungary last night and headed out to Memento Park early this morning, early on vacation = 9:30 am. Hungary, one of the former Soviet states has removed all plaques, statues and the red star is forbidden to be displayed in the country.

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Rather than destroying the removed plaques and statues they were all moved about 30 minutes out of the city to Memento Park.

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The children in this sculpture represent ages 6-10. They were enrolled in the communist youth program’s when they entered school. According to the guide they were taught the values of the communist parties, and taught to worship Lenin and Stalin. Can you imagine your 8 year old?

At the park you can see a variety of collected items and statues, watch secret police training videos, and shop vintage Soviet era items. When you first pull up to the park, don’t be surprised if at first it looks a little disappointing. The park is not flashy, or full of beautiful buildings but is a raw description of life under a Communist state occupation.

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The red star is allowed as a museum item.

Where the park is not flashy, it is thoughtfully and wonderfully designed. When you first arrive you will see a grand entrance built in Soviet era architecture with no building behind it, to symbolize that communism looks great from the outside but has no substance.

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The main door of the fa├žade is closed, you enter through the side. It is meant to symbolize that you can only survive communism by looking for the loopholes and secret doors.

The walk among the statue’s is called the endless road and shaped in the sign of infinity to show that while you think you are moving forward you really are moving in circles.

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This statue of Lenin was originally outside of a factory, it was meant to inspire the workers.

While the park and tour gives you a better understanding of what life without a people’s voice and democracy can be like any day of the year, it is especially poignant on Memorial Day.

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Meant to symbolize Hungarian and Soviet friendship, but notice that the Hungarian is portrayed as shorter and clasping with both hands.

It reminds us to thank all the men, women and families who have sacrificed so much to stand up for democratic ideas. To think of how different the world would be without their great sacrifice, and how thankful I am to be a citizen of a country where I can live my life in freedom from oppression, rather than fear.

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Happy Memorial Day…from Hungary…

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this.
    I am in awe by the symblism of this.
    I am glad they didn't distroy the past. We can all learn from it

    ReplyDelete

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