Lesson #22: Harry Hill

I chose to ignore the fact that it’s very, very wrong that I saw a statue of a hero and started humming 76 Trombones, a song sung by a con man, in my head.

Moving right along…

There’s a statue in Freedom Square in Budapest of an American soldier, which struck us as a bit odd. And since none of us speaks Hungarian and the English quote* did nothing to help us learn, we had to rely on other things for the information. Yay for Wiki in this case.

The statue is of US Army (then) Lieutenant Harry Hill Bandholtz,** who served in the first World War and he is situated outside of the American Embassy (which a college friend of mine who spent a semester in Budapest during the fall of 2001 could probably have told me had I asked). The statue was erected in 1936 in honour of Bandholtz who, according to legend, kept a group of Romanian soldiers from pillaging the Transylvanian Collection at the Hungarian National Museum and protected the furniture at the Royal Palace in the autumn of 1919. With a whip.

The whip part may or may not be true and the Hungarians have the (purported) whip on display at the Hungarian National Museum.

An interesting side note: Bandholtz is considered to be the father of the US Army’s MP Corps.***

*”I simply carried out the instruction of my government, as I understood them, as an officer and a gentleman of the United States Army.”

**He would later be promoted several times and wind up as a General.

***More information here.

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