Ronald Reagan statue unveiled in Hungary

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — A statue of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan was unveiled Wednesday in Hungary’s capital, where he was honored for his leadership in helping to end communism.

The bronze 7-foot likeness of the 40th president was erected in Budapest at Freedom Square, near both the U.S. Embassy and a World War II memorial to Soviet soldiers killed during the ouster of the Nazis from Hungary.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice helped unveil the statue Wednesday.

Reagan was remembered for the aid and encouragement he gave Hungary and other former Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe to gain back their freedom.

Reagan “changed the world and created a new world for Central Europe,” Orban said at the unveiling ceremony. “He tore down the walls which were erected in the path of freedom in the name of distorted and sick ideologies.”

Rice said the cause of the freedom fighters in Hungary’s failed anti-Soviet revolution in 1956 deepened Reagan’s commitment to ending communist rule around the world.

A large facsimile of Reagan’s signature identifies the statue made by Istvan Mate and a touchscreen monitor nearby provides information about Reagan in Hungarian and English.

The statue, which shows Reagan in mid-stride, is the second memorial erected in his honor in Budapest, where a bust of the former actor and governor of California was placed in City Park in 2006.

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