Reagan National unveils statue of namesake
November 1st, 2011
05:53 PM ET
11 years ago

Reagan National unveils statue of namesake

Washington (CNN) - This year, Ronald Reagan would have turned 100 years old. And, as part of many events celebrating his centennial, the airport that bears his name has now unveiled a statue of his likeness.

Travelers entering Terminal A of the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport will now be greeted by the nine-foot tall bronze statue.

It took two years, and nearly a million dollars, to bring the 900 pound structure to fruition. It was with the help of the former Secretary of Transportation, Elizabeth Dole, who served under the president, that The Ronald Reagan Foundation was able to raise the necessary funds.

Behind the podium, Dole stood beside James Burnley -who was once her Deputy Secretary of Transportation before taking over the position- as they acknowledged their efforts to rebuild the system following the 1981 strike by the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization.

"It is a privilege to be able to unveil today a statue of Ronald Reagan, the man who blessed this endeavor, who signed the legislation, who was cheering on the effort all those years ago," said Dole.

It was the DOT's push to transfer control of the two Washington D.C. area airports from the federal government to regional transportation authorities, Dole and Burnley say, that allowed for the unveiling today.

"The argument that prevailed was that, these airports were going to look today like they looked in 1984 and '85 and '86, if we did not get them in the hands of a local regional authority," reflected Burnley.

But, the commemorations to the 40th president aren't limited to Washington alone. Three more statues of President Reagan, by sculptor Chas Fagan, are housed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, in Grosvenor Square in London, and at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.

Fagan who majored in Soviet Studies at Yale University in the 1980's, says his affinity for Reagan began when he heard the president speak at the Reykjavik Summit in 1986. His only regret is that he never met the man whose image he has carved many times. But, he draws his motivation to continue doing so from a more personal place.

"The responsibility now is to introduce him to other people and tell the story," he says.

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Filed under: Ronald Reagan • Washington D.C.
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Woman In California

    Anytime it crosses my mind to vote republican – I just think of Reagan and I quickly forget that idea.

    Ronald Reagan was one of the WORST presidents ever and I will never forget that. Thanks to his greedy/shady policies – this country will NEVER be debt free again and I hope he NEVER finds peace.

    November 1, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  2. Carolyn

    With the economy as bad as it is, who thought it was a good idea to spend that much money on a statue?

    November 1, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    GAG - Mr Tax Increase – ha ha ha ha ha

    November 1, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  4. scranton

    Ronnie you were a great president and a great American.

    November 1, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  5. SecedingfromTexas

    And my guess is, that if President Reagan were here today, he would tell the Teacans that if they want to use his
    name in their cause, they need to grow up and earn the privilege of aligning themselves with him. He is not
    my hero, but he is so much better than what they are offering today, and he most likely would be ashamed of them.
    His love for America was real. their love for power and money is equally as real. The two do not coincide.

    November 1, 2011 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  6. Russ

    Ok, I give up. Why? What did Reagan ever do that was so outstanding? He was a mediocre president at best. He really was't that great of an actor. Is this all becasue he was shot as a president? If he had been killed maybe. Why are'nt we honoring alll of the men and women who died in Iraq and Afghanistan with statutes and naming airports after them. Why?

    November 1, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  7. The Greedy Old PIgs have lost their minds!

    The real Reagan would be called a RINO by the current GOBP deathcult.

    November 1, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  8. GonzoinHouston

    Reagan would not even recognize the current Republican party, nor would he be accepted by it. The GOP has turned his legacy into legend, and has twisted his record like a pretzel. But don't waste your breath trying to explain that to the Tea Partiers.

    November 1, 2011 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  9. john

    a couple hours west of Chicago you can find the Boyhood home of this great man. Everyone should go there and find out about the kid they called "Dutch" See the simple home where he grew up, the area he lived, and the river he saved 77 lives over the years.

    A well deserved statue for the greatest President of the modern era.

    I Marine I know told me he would do anything include take a bullet for the man because, as he said "he would do it for me"

    November 1, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  10. dnick47

    hat,a waste of money... The Great Fraud's statue is.

    November 1, 2011 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  11. Patriot Awesome

    Even though I'm more of a Democrat than a Republican these days, I miss Reagan. I didn't agree with everything he did, but he at least had the country's best interests at heart and was willing to compromise with democrats for the good of the nation. It's ironic that he would be considered too liberal by today's Republican standards.

    November 1, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  12. Coloradan

    If only he hadn't raised taxes 7 times and tripled the deficit.

    November 1, 2011 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  13. once upon a horse

    it's too bad the present Republican party has become what it is. I think Ronald Reagan would be somewhat ashamed of it. The "Gipper" would probably be to liberal for this sorry Tea Party bunch.

    November 1, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |