Poland Honors Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II With New Statue

They get it.

This statue of President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II was unveiled Saturday in Gdansk, Poland. The late leaders are revered in Poland for their role in helping to topple communism. | (Czarek Sokolowski~AP)

The Herald Sun reported:

POLISH officials have unveiled a statue of former President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II, honouring two men widely credited in this Eastern European country with helping to topple communism 23 years ago.

The statue was unveiled in Gdansk, the birthplace of Lech Walesa’s Solidarity movement, in the presence of about 120 former Solidarity activists, many of whom were imprisoned in the 1980s for their roles in organising or taking part in strikes against the communist regime.

The bronze statue, erected in the lush seaside President Ronald Reagan Park, is a slightly larger-than-life rendering of the two late leaders.

It was inspired by an Associated Press photograph taken in 1987 on John Paul’s second pontifical visit to the US.

The photographer who took the picture, Scott Stewart, expressed satisfaction that one of his pictures has helped immortalise “a wonderful moment in time between the two men.”

“In the news business we’re used to having a moment and then that moment being gone a day later. This is one image that should last for a good long time,” Stewart, who now teaches graphic design and photography at Greenville Technical College in South Carolina, said in a phone interview a day before the ceremony.

“I’m happy that it’s been chosen as the seminal moment to represent the relationship of these two people to Poland.”

Reagan and John Paul shared a conviction that communism was a moral evil, not just a bad economic system.

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