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Living the American dream
Floresville resident Peter Juhasz, born in Budapest, Hungary, speaks at the July 4 Freedom Rally in Floresville, sponsored by the Wilson County Patriots.
WCN CorrespondentJuly 25, 2012 2,469 views 1 comment
When immigrants come to America, many of them have the goal of realizing the American dream of success. All over the world, the United States is known for its social mobility and the idea that hard work and dedication can translate into a better life for anyone.
That is what was on the minds of the parents of local Tea Party activist and member of the Wilson County Patriots, Peter Juhasz.
“I was actually born in Budapest,” Juhasz said. “My parents and I came here after a rebellion against communism in 1956. My father was part of a rebellion that raised up in the streets and held off the Russian army for two weeks; he was a freedom fighter.”
During this time period, Hungary was in the grips of communism influenced by the Soviet Union. Socialism was the ideology of the land and many people were stripped of their property.
“My grandfather was a poet, author, geologist, and politician in Hungary before communism,” Juhasz said. “He used to own a mansion which was the size of about half a city block; he had done well for himself. After the communist takeover, my grandfather had to share his home with five other families. He died a poor man; that’s what communism does.”
After the revolution in which Juhasz’s father participated, he received threats regarding his family.
“We needed to leave Hungary in a hurry after the revolution,” Juhasz said. “My father had left and we escaped, having to travel through minefields into Austria. We took refuge in the United States. When my family arrived in America, we were penniless. There was a group which helped us to find a place to stay, but we were on our own. My father was a chauffeur and my mother, a maid; they had to work their way up.”
One of the most important things to Juhasz’s parents was becoming American citizens.
“I remember that it was so important to them,” Juhasz said. “It took them five years to become naturalized citizens. I immediately became a citizen because of them, but I can still remember being there when they were sworn in. Back then, you had to take a 75- to 100-question test, and there were many other requirements for earning your citizenship.
“I didn’t know exactly what it meant back then, but I know my parents worked very hard to get it. They had to have lived here for five years with a clean record before they could become citizens. I can remember that I learned English very easily, because I was surrounded by it in school. I learned faster than my parents, so I can remember helping to teach them English at night so they could prepare to become citizens, as speaking English was a requirement.”
Juhasz met his wife, Joann, in Toledo, Ohio, and they married in 1989. He currently works for Canon in San Antonio and decided to move to Floresville five years ago.
“I have only recently become involved in politics,” Juhasz said. “We have got to pay attention to what’s going on in our government, whether it’s local or national. We can’t be asleep at the switch anymore. Slowly but surely, we are all paying the price for apathy.
“The successes of my parents can be attributed to hard work and the American dream,” Juhasz said. “We did not have government handouts to get us by; we worked hard for what we needed and were successful. That is the beauty of America; anyone can be successful with hard work and a drive for success.
“I had gone back to Budapest in 1967 and in 1971,” he recalled. “By then, the lives of my parents had been improving immensely, but when I saw my relatives in Hungary, they were still living under communism and in government housing.
“America offers freedom and opportunity to anyone willing to work for it.”
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July 25, 2012 6:02pm
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