Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ambiguous Independence

While I am on March 15—and gauging how time has changed (see last post)—I might note that today is Hungary’s Independence day, originally marked in 1848. As a little boy in Hungary, that day left a very big impression on me—of the full-chested, patriotic sort. The 1848 Revolution had thrown off the Hapsburg rule, but I was living under a Regent then who, at least symbolically, represented a royalty somewhere. That Independence only lasted for a year—put down with Russian help—so that Emperor Franz Joseph I was back in power in 1849. But we weren’t informed of such fine details in grade school. Still, to this day, no March 15th ever passes without memories of those emotions of collective unity, whether real or imagined. I also remember my trip to Europe as a young American soldier which took place in 1956—right in the middle of the second Hungarian revolution, also put down by Russian forces. The feelings relate to an ideal world never actually discoverable under our actual skies. The contrast is known as growing up.

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