Poland’s Walesa Unveils Reagan Statue in Warsaw

Posted November 21st, 2011 at 1:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Former Polish president and opposition leader Lech Walesa has unveiled a statue of Ronald Reagan in Warsaw, honoring the former U.S. president for inspiring the fall of communism in Poland.

In a ceremony in the capital city Monday, Mr. Walesa said Poland would not have been free without Mr. Reagan.

Mr. Reagan was president from 1981 to 1989 and is remembered for his tough stance toward the Soviet Union.

The three-and-a-half-meter-high bronze statue stands across from the U.S. Embassy in central Warsaw. It depicts a smiling Mr. Reagan in a historic moment — June 1987, when he delivered a speech in Berlin in which he challenged then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” Mr. Reagan was referring to the Berlin Wall, which came to define the Cold War and the division between eastern and western Europe.

Other eastern European nations, including Hungary, have also unveiled monuments to Mr. Reagan this year, commemorating what would have been his 100th birthday.