Europe: We Yearn for Reagan

Wednesday, 13 Jul 2011 04:00 PM

By Sam Doniger

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Europeans voice high praise for President Ronald Reagan as they express their longing for another American leader like the nation's 40th president, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan writes.

“The world misses him as much as we [Americans] do. It misses grand leadership as much as we do,” writes Noonan, who also notes that the world “doesn’t want to be patronized or dominated by America . . . the world wants something else: American goodness.”

Ronald Reagan, statue, Budapest
When Ronald Reagan's statue was unveiled in Budapest, Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the 40th president of the United States "remade the world for us." (Getty Images Photo)
As several European countries celebrate the centennial of Reagan’s birth this year with the unveiling of statues and the renaming of streets, leaders from around the continent are honoring the man who tore down “the distorted and sick ideologies of the 20th century” and “remade the world for us,” Noonan quotes Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban as saying during the presentation of Reagan’s statue in Budapest.

In Krakow, Poland, Noonan writes, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz celebrated a Mass and stated during his homily: "President Reagan . . . took great pains to bring about the demise of that which he so aptly named 'the evil empire.' This empire of evil denied many people and nations their freedom. It did so by way of a pernicious ideology . . . the result of this experiment was the death and sufferings of millions."

In London, a statue of Reagan was unveiled last week, joining statues of FDR and Eisenhower in Grosvenor Square, just in front of the U.S. Embassy. In Prague, a street was named in his honor.

Orban ended his speech with a call to return to the more glorious age of the U.S. presidency. “We need a Ronald Reagan,” the prime minister said.

Noonan concludes her own reflection with this comment: “And so Mr. Reagan's centennial nears its close. We remember him — and Thatcher, and John Paul — for many reasons. To reinforce and reinspire. To keep fresh our knowledge that history can be made better. To be loyal to the truth.”


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