The Hungarian government is to unveil a statue of George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the United States, to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of communist rule in central and eastern Europe.
According to a joint statement by the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, Gergely Gulyás, and the US Ambassador to Hungary David Cornstein on Sunday, the statue will be unveiled in Szabadsag Square, nearby the US embassy, on October 23.
It said appreciation and gratitude “to the statesman who helped shape the future of Europe and Hungary” would thereby be expressed by both countries, adding that Bush had stood up for democracy and opposed the communist dictatorship.
The statue of Bush Sr, the first US president to visit Budapest while in office, will stand next to an existing statue of President Ronald Reagan, symbolising, in Reagan’s words, the common struggle of these two leaders to eliminate “the evil empire”.
During his long career and as president and vice president, Bush Sr. gained recognition for helping to end the Cold War and aiding democracies in central and eastern Europe, the statement said.
The statue is being unveiled 30 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the reunification of Germany and Europe, when freedom and democracy “triumphed” in central and eastern Europe, and when “the Hungarian people ended the dark era of communism and embarked on the path of freedom”.
The statement added that ties between the US and Hungary “have flourished” since, noting their alliance within NATO and as trading partners. President Bush contributed indelibly to the renewal of relations between the two countries, the statement said.
In the featured photo: George Bush at the Hungarian parliament in 1989. Photo by Zsolt Szigetváry/Fortepan