America’s Independence Day was marked across this great land with fireworks and barbecues, but across Europe, America’s Independence Day was ignored in favor of the Ronald Reagan centennial birthday blitz.
In London on July 4 former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joined British Foreign Secretary William Hague, U.S. Ambassador Louis B. Susman and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to unveil a 10-foot, $800,000 bronze statue of the late President Ronald Reagan. The statue will stand in front of the (famously fugly) American Embassy in Grosvenor Square in London until time immemorial.
Reagan’s statue will join other bronze renderings of U.S. Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower, which currently stand in the square.
“I doubt very much that Ronald Reagan would have even imagined the world that we have today, [with] a Europe whole and at peace,” Rice said during the unveiling ceremony Monday in London.
(Shhh. … Let’s not remind the former secretary that there is a serious economic crisis a-brewin’ across the Continent threatening to crack federal Europe wide open, but, yes, so far still whole.)
The statue is embossed with a quote from former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. It reads, “Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War without firing a single shot.”
The Cold War ended, Hague explained to the gathered crowd, because “President Reagan, Britain and our allies stood firm.” Which may be true, but some credit should also go to the Eastern European revolutionaries, no? Didn’t they do stuff to overthrow and overcome the Soviet Union? Maybe? Are we remembering wrong? Anyway, moving on.
The centennial festivities were sponsored by Ronald Reagan’s old employer, General Electric Co., and his favorite candy manufacturer, Jelly Belly(!) (For the curious, a portrait of Reagan made entirely of Jelly Belly jelly beans is hanging in the presidential library.) According to its website, GE is very proudly sponsoring two years of Reagan-themed events.
Condi and McCarthy’s Reagan centennial birthday blitz kicked off last week in Krakow, Poland, before moving to Budapest, Hungary, late in the week for the unveiling of the Reagan statue and ending in London.
Sports fan Condi was also spotted taking in a tennis match at Wimbledon.