Former Polish President Lech Wałęsa hailed his friendship with Ronald Reagan during their respective administrations, claiming that Poland owes Reagan ‘our freedom.’
‘You may consider this statement extremely lofty, yet it does not sound lofty to those who regained liberty after half a century,’ Wałęsa, 80, told Fox News Digital on the anniversary of Reagan’s birth.
‘Some politicians defend values not because they find it profitable but because those politicians are convinced that there are certain values that are worth living for, and that there are values that are worth giving life for,’ Wałęsa said. ‘Only such politicians are really great politicians and Ronald Reagan was one of them.’
Wałęsa gave the keynote speech during a ceremony at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton commemorating Reagan’s 113th birthday. The ceremony included a color guard, chaplain, brass quartet and 21-gun salute.
Wałęsa made his mark as the leader of the Solidarity trade union, which pushed back against communist rule in Poland, at one point boasting 10 million members – roughly one-third of the country’s working-age population, according to The Guardian.
David Trulio, the president and CEO of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, told Fox News Digital that the friendship between Wałęsa and Reagan was that of ‘truly historic champions of freedom.’
‘Lech Wałęsa and the Solidarity movement he led successfully stood up to brutal communist oppression and played a material role in changing the course of world history,’ Trulio said, describing Wałęsa’s remarks about his friendship with Reagan as ‘a particularly poignant call to action for American leadership in a dangerous world.’
Wałęsa’s speech at the ceremony addressed ‘the challenges of the world that we currently live in,’ focusing on the role that force played in helping shape the current international political landscape: Countries grew by developing technology and swallowing smaller countries.
Wałęsa credited Reagan with starting the end of the ‘old world order’ in order to ‘build a better one.’ He lauded the development of ‘so many different small countries’ and ‘so many borders,’ but lamented that the world has ‘hit a wall’ in development.
‘It’s possible we could destroy the life on this planet… unless we reorganize the world so we can tackle all the issues that challenge the world today,’ Wałęsa said, speaking through a translator. ‘I believe the globalization, that the preparation for the entire continent of those issues belongs and should belong to the United States of America.’‘If you do not lead, then I do not see a good solution in the world,’ he stressed, calling on his experience as a revolutionary to drive home his point.