October 23

Memorial Plaque at "October 23 Street" that I walk past each day

While we’ve been in Budapest that last few weekends, we’ll be back to the lake for a long weekend starting on Friday.  There will be a 4-day weekend, as Tuesday is October 23rd, a national holiday in Hungary.  No, they aren’t so enthusiastic about chemistry that the nation stops for mole day (for the non-chemists, October 23 (10/23) is celebrated by chemists as “mole day” to commemorate the mole, a unit in chemistry that is equal to 6.02 x 10^23). Instead, October 23 marks the start of the Hungarian Revolution against the Soviet Union in 1956.  During the revolution, Hungarian protestors seized control of the country from the communist government and maintained control of the country for about 2 weeks, until tanks from Moscow rolled in and squelched the opposition. If you’ve encountered Hungarians in the United States, there’s a good chance that they immigrated in or around 1956. For an interesting take on the revolution through the eyes of the men’s Olympic Water Polo team competing at the same time, I highly recommend the movie “Freedom’s Fury“, or a really great Sports Illustrated article about the story of the defections of many of the Hungarians at the 1956 Melbourne olympics.

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