President Bush is commemorating the 1956 Hungarian uprising against communism that was crushed by Soviet troops. The president says he has come to Hungary to celebrate freedom and democracy.
President Bush formally began his one-day visit with a welcoming ceremony at Budapest's historic Sandar Palace. He reviewed Hungarian troops on horseback outside the palace, before moving inside for talks with Hungarian President Laszlo Solyom.
"I am here to celebrate the 1956 revolution - a revolution that celebrated the notion that all men and women should be free," he said.
The president will take that message directly to the Hungarian people, later in the day. He will speak from a hill overlooking Budapest that is dominated by a massive fortress used by Soviet troops in 1956 to bombard the city.
White House spokesman Tony Snow says it will not be a policy speech, but rather a tribute to the 1956 revolution and all that the Hungarian people went through 50 years ago. He indicated the president will talk about how their struggle to attain freedom is relevant today, as other countries go through the sometimes difficult process of winning their freedom and putting democratic institutions in place.
Hungary, which went through so much in 1956, is now a member of NATO. President Solyom says his country, which once had support troops in Iraq, remains committed to the war on terror. He says the Bush visit is a worthy and dignified prelude to the formal commemoration of the uprising, which will take place in October.