WALLINGFORD — The hulking granite monument was hidden under an oversized white sheet in front of the Hungarian Community Center, while speakers talked about the sacrifices and improvements Hungarians had made in Wallingford.
“This represents two years of very hard work on the part of the club in design and setup,” said Barbara Kapi, a past club president, speaking to about 100 people gathered for the unveiling outside the club. “It’s dedicated to the people who came before us.”
The Hungarian Community Center is at 147 Ward St.
When the veil was removed, cameras clicked and people applauded as the statue, an 8-foot-tall cube of solid granite from Rock of Ages in Vermont, was revealed.
It is inscribed with pictures depicting immigrants’ arrival in Wallingford in 1883, as well as the sacrifices made by Hungarians during the 1956 revolution.
“Immigrants had to be the strongest and bravest people,” Kapi continued. “They settled in Wallingford, set up businesses and left us great values, the love of family, learning and freedom.”
Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. was also present at the ceremony.
“Hungarians are a people of great intelligence and spirit,” he said. “There is a distinct flavor in the melting pot from people who come from Hungary.”
He added that this was a wonderful occasion and he was honored to be present.
Also honored was Ambassador Karoly Dan, consul general of the Republic of Hungary in New York City.
“I’m honored to be here,” Dan said. “This reminds us of the kind of communities leaving footprints of where we are, of Hungarians giving to their communities.”
Dr. Balazs Somogyi was the master of ceremonies and the person who came up with the idea for the statue.
“I thought the Hungarians should have a monument,” he said, looking proudly at the structure. “It’s amazing how fast it occurred.”
The statue is surrounded by about 50 bricks inscribed with names of those who donated and those who died.
As described by a translator, the base of the statue is inscribed in Hungarian, “We think fondly of our ancestors and those of the 1956 revolution.”