That last thing you’d expect driving along the minor road from Bicske to Csákvár in northwestern Hungary is to be catapulted back to July 1931. But there it stands in the middle of nowhere in all its glory. A monument to two Hungarian pilots – Magyar Sándor and Endresz Gyorgy – who flew across the Atlantic Ocean from Canada to Hungary in a Lockheed-Sirius airplane to focus the world’s attention on the ‘dismembered’ state of Hungary in the aftermath of World War I.
Their non-stop flight took 26 hours and 20 minutes and included a number of firsts: the first time with radio contact at the start and at the finish (don’t we take so much for granted these days?) and the first time a flight was used for political purposes.
The boys were a couple of days late starting from Harbor Grace and a couple of gallons of fuel short of reaching their target – Ferihegy Airport in Budapest. Just 12 miles from their destination (as the crow flies, obviously, as it took a lot longer by road!) they had to crash-land. Both escaped unharmed. But although the 100 000 people waiting in Budapest were left waiting, the boys were welcomed home as heroes.
I can’t help but wonder how many other monuments there are scattered around the country, bearing silent testimony to great deeds done … and all but forgotten.