The year was 1956 in Budapest Hungary, Gabor Francia-Kiss, my stepfather was faced with the Hungarian Revolution. A revolt against the Hungarian People's republic and soviet parties caused not only horrifying conditions for the Hungarian people, but also brought me my stepfather. Gabor was living in Budapest, with his family when the revolution began. Soviet control created violence throughout the country and quickly started a revolt. Communism flooded throughout Hungary, changing the lives of not only my stepfather, but the entire Hungarian population.On November 4th, a massive Soviet force invaded Budapest and other parts of the country resulting in the Hungarian resistance, and the physical removal of my stepfather's father to join the resistance, only to be captured and tortured by the communist party. My stepfather, along with most Hungarians went into hiding. Their new lives consisted of nothing but absolute terror and fear. Shortly after the invasion 200,000 Hungarians, including my step father fled as refugees. After living in conditions so gruesome, my stepfather decided to take a chance at coming to the United States. With luck, and help from others Gabor escaped the border after being shot at and chased my soviet troops. Shortly after his escape he made is to Cleveland, Ohio without knowing a single word of english he established an education for himself and continued his practice of training equestrians at the grand prix level. Years later he married one of his clients and unpredictably became a stepfather.
I met my stepfather when I was three years old. It wasn't until I started to get older that he would mention the Hungarian Revolution. As a child it was difficult to understand and to have true empathy for what he had been through. Gabor refused to tell me details about his past simply because they were too horrific to hear and also because I believe it was so hard for him to talk about. It was mainly my mother that shared the details I have learned about his past and the struggles he had to face. Growing up, his story never truly effected me until I could grasp the concept. At the time I just knew I was blessed to have someone who loved me so much. I did not realize how lucky I was until now to have had someone so extraordinary in my life. I did not understand that the tragedy he faced throughout his life would change my outlook on life and shape the morals and values I have today. I can not fathom how fortunate I was to have had a man who treated and raised me as his own daughter, who took the effort into making me a better person, and for providing me with the finest life I could have asked for.
The story of the Hungarian Revolution, and my stepfather inspires me to always keep trying no matter how unfortunate I feel. His story reminds me that I can do anything because of what he had accomplished. His story has mobilized myself to strive for a better education and to stop allowing myself to create excuses for trying to be the most brilliant version of myself. His struggles remind me not to fear anything and accept everything. His story is the reason I believe social change is necessary and important to myself. I believe that the story of the revolution touches on the theme of the current revolutions around the world, mainly in Syria. It is most revenant to this community because of the immense amount of refugees that have resulted based on the events. I believe that it is my stepfather's story that plays a role in my own life to make the decision to come to this program and do all that I can do to create positive social change. This story is something that is personal to my not only because it belongs to my stepfather, but because in 2009 he passed away. For me it is difficult to even think about, yet alone tell his story, however it remains a major part of my identity and forever will continue to help me grow as an individual. This is why I finally decided to share this story, because for the first time in my life I know that what I am capable of is because of his presence in my life.
Incentive, Fate, Resilience