An $800,000 statue honoring former President Ronald Reagan is set to be unveiled on Independence Day, joining monuments to Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower in the heart of the British capital.
At a time when the much-celebrated “special relationship” between the U.S. and Britain is widely seen to have frayed, about 2,000 people are expected at the ceremony. Organizers say that is about ten times the typical crowd for such an event.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who served as Thatcher’s Secretary of State for Scotland, recalled that Britons were initially skeptical of Reagan due to his perceived lack of experience. However, the Conservative lawmaker – who also served as Britain’s foreign secretary – said many were won over by the former actor’s “good judgment, good instincts and guts.”
“The qualities he had served both countries very well at the end of the Cold War, which was a crucial period in history,” Rifkind told msnbc.com. To this day, Rifkind said, “people here respect his achievements.”