Freedom Fighter Statue Dedicated at Atlanta’s Millennium Gate Park Honoring 1956 Hungarian Revolution
Local Dignitaries Join ’56-ers for Statue Unveiling
On October 23, 2022, the Hungarian American Coalition (Coalition) dedicated the Hungarian Freedom Fighter statue at Midtown Atlanta’s Millennium Gate Park to the Freedom Fighters of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. A crowd of 250, including 15 freedom fighters and their families witnessed the unveiling of the nine-foot statue, made of keyblue granite from Elberton, GA.
The statue marks the anniversary of the 13-day revolution that began on October 23, 1956, a modern-day David vs. Goliath struggle of students, workers and ordinary citizens who rose up against communism and the powerful Soviet Union.
John Parkerson, Honorary Counsul General of Hungary in Georgia; Magor Ernyei, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Hungary in Washington, DC; Ambassador Andrew Bremberg, President of the Victims of Communism Museum in Washington, DC; Edith K. Lauer, Coalition Chair Emertia, and ’56-ers and families of ’56-ers helped dedicate the work of art.
“This statue is a poignant reminder of the heroic Freedom Fighters who risked everything to gain their freedom from Soviet tyranny and communism,” said Andrea Lauer Rice, President of the Coalition and the initiator of the project. “There is an urgent need in this day and time to remind the next generation of the evils of communism before history repeats itself. This battle rages on even today in far too many countries.”
Athens, GA artist Stan Mullins created the 15-ton Hungarian Freedom Fighter statue. He has produced work on several continents with figures that embrace numerous cultures and causes.
Rodney Mims Cook Jr., the founder of Millennium Gate Park, said the park narrative highlights the virtues of peace, justice and freedom and the world-class sculpture demonstrates just that. The Hungarian Freedom Fighter statue will be an important historical addition to the park narrative and ensemble on 17th Street.
“She not only reflects the courage and freedom of the Hungarian nation but is a beauty in her own right.” Cook said. “The Hungarian gift will add to the urban landscape of our community and draw even more visitors to Millennium Gate Park.“
The historically-accurate Hungarian Freedom Fighter was donated with funds raised by the Coalition, including donations from more than 50 individuals and non-profit organizations across the U.S., as well as an initial grant from the Embassy of Hungary in Washington D.C., Rice said. Other major donors include: Charles and Catherine B Rice Foundation, Edith K. Lauer, Hungary Foundation, Leslie Laszlo Megyeri, the Hungarian American Cultural Association and many families of ’56-ers.
“Even after 66 years, the memories remain surprisingly vivid. May this statue serve as a reminder to all who pass by it – young and old alike – that freedom is not free,” said Lauer as she admired the statue.
In addition to the statue unveiling, a multi-media exhibit of 1956 was showcased in the Millennium Gate Museum. A website also provides more information on 1956 as well as the statue available at: www.HungarianFreedomFighter.com