Here’s good news for a Friday: the planning committee of the Westminster City Council in London has given its approval for the placement of a statue honoring President Reagan outside the American Embassy. The statue will be accompanied by a piece of the Berlin Wall, to pay tribute to Reagan’s role in ending the Cold War.
The Council normally allows memorials only for individuals who have been dead for at least ten years, but in recognition of Reagan’s status as a former head of state, and of the Special Relationship, it waved the rule in this case. And the words of the Chairman of the committee, Steve Summers, are a fitting tribute to the President and to the Anglo-American bond:
Regardless of politics, nobody can dispute that President Reagan was a true ally of this country. During his presidency the term ‘special relationship’ reflected not just the close working partnership of our respective governments, but helped reinforce Britain’s unquestionable cultural and historic ties with the United States. Subsequent presidencies have continued that unique bond between our countries so it is only right and proper we exempt President Reagan, as a former head of state, from the usual rules on statues.
Not everyone was so gracious: a member of the Green Party expressed “disbelief” at the idea of honoring Reagan, and the U.S. Embassy, reflecting the fact that the statue – though it was supported enthusiastically by Robert Tuttle, the last US Ambassador to the UK – is a private initiative, was notably cautious.
But it looks very likely that Reagan will join former President Eisenhower in Grosvenor Square. In fact, London is becoming quite the center of presidential sculpture: there is a George Washington, an Abraham Lincoln, the Eisenhower, a Kennedy bust, and two FDRs – one with Churchill, and one on his own.
For our part, Washington DC has a fine statue of Winston Churchill – his right hand raised in the “V for Victory” sign – outside the grounds  of the British Embassy. The first statue to Margaret Thatcher in the U.S. is on the grounds of Hillsdale College, in Michigan. The question that Britain’s generosity in honoring Reagan in its capitol city raises is whether the U.S. will reciprocate.