WARSAW– Legendary Solidarity leader Lech Walesa is taking part in the unveiling ceremonies of a statue of Ronald Reagan here Monday. U.S. President Reagan was instrumental in the contributing to the fall of communism behind the Iron Curtain.
The 10 ½ foot bronze depicts Reagan standing behind a lectern while speaking and will be installed on Ujazdowskie Avenue, close to the American Embassy. The concept was suggested to sculptor Wladyslaw Dudek by retired businessman Janusz Dorosiewicz, chairman of Poland’s Ronald Reagan Foundation.
Created from private funds and estimated to cost about $200,000 the memorial was inspired by Reagan’s famed speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin in 1987. Reagan demanded that the Berlin Wall be torn down and his tone was inspirational to Solidarnosc. His famous quote was, “Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall.”
US Ambassador to Poland Lee A. Feinstein and Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski are both due to speak during Monday’s unveiling ceremony, as is Mayor of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz.
The Warsaw monument is not the first Polish tribute to the late president. In 2004, near Krakow in the town square of Nowa Huta, the main square area was renamed in Reagan’s honor. In 1989, Poland became the first nation in Eastern Europe to expel communism. Reagan died in 2004 at the age of 93.
November 19, 2011