Monday, July 04, 2011
One of the characteristics of true greatness is that it's recognized in unlikely places.
Today in Britain, a statue of President Reagan is being unveiled outside the American embassy in Grosvenor Square, London. It will stand next to the statues of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Westminster City Council has a rule that a statue like this can only be erected ten years after the death of the person honored, but they made an exception in Reagan's case. That's quite fitting, since he was such an exceptional man and leader.
A ceremony is planned around the unveiling of the bronze statue. Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to attend, along with a few British dignitaries. It's uncertain Baroness Margaret Thatcher will attend because of her health, but she'll be there in spirit. Her quote, "Ronald Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot" will be etched on the statue's plinth, along with a piece of the Berlin Wall. It's a good quote from her, but I would have liked "Don't go wobbly now, Ronnie" just as much, simply because he almost always took her advice.
It's interesting to speculate on how Ronald Reagan would have reacted to our current situation. I can almost hear the ghost of that voice now as I write this, excoriating failed policies in Washington and inspiring Americans that our best days were ahead of us as he led the clean up of the shambles his predecessor Jimmy Carter had made of America's economy, its foreign policy and our faith in ourselves.
In his time, President Reagan was mocked by the Left as a has-been, a grade B actor, a dunce, an idiot. They tried to bring him down by whatever means necessary and called him senile, a warmonger, and a fool. Even today some of the same nonsense survives. But try as they might, they're unable to obliterate his achievements, his simple decency or his faith in G-d, freedom, America and his fellow countrymen.
That's his true legacy, the challenge to us to live up to the best in us. And that's what's being honored in Grosvenor Square today.