People look at a new statue of Pope John Paul II and former President Ronald Reagan in Gdansk, Poland. (Credit: Czarek Sokolowski)

Several months ago, Lech Walesa, hero and leader of Poland's freedom movement, unveiled a statue in downtown Warsaw honoring President Ronald Reagan.  Reagan an American with Irish roots, was inspirational in his efforts to topple the Soviet Empire that had Poland and eastern europe in its death grip.

Recently, in an ironic twist, there was a push in Galway Ireland to erect a statue for another famous figure with Irish roots, communist and assassin, Che Guevara.  Guevara was known as Fidel Castro's executioner who helped install the communist dictator in power back in the late 50's.  Cuba has been under the boot of communist tyranny ever since.

While many people walk around with "Che" T shirts on, thinking it gives them an edgy, revolutionary, romantic look.....The reality is, Che Guevara tried to spread communism throughout Latin America and was responsible for many brutal murders.

Two historic figures with huge contrasts in philosophy, politics and tactics.

If any people know what it is like to live under the boot of communism, it is the people of Poland and their courageous, charismatic hero, Lech Walesa.  

In the early 1980's, as the leader of Poland's ship builders union, Walesa was imprisoned, fined and abused by the communist regime for having the temerity to stand up to them and demand freedom.  He stood eye to eye with those tyrants and forced them to blink.  When they blinked, it signaled the beginning of the end of the Soviet Empire and this lead  to the collapse of communist backed regimes around the world. During this time President Reagan made it known that America stood with the Polish people and Lech Walesa....The Polish people will never forget this.

Nobel Prize winning Lech Walesa made a bold but controversial statement yesterday.

By clearing his busy schedule to welcome Mitt Romney when the Presidential candidate visits Poland this week, Walesa sent a political message.  His decision to meet and greet Romney stands in clear contrast to his refusal to meet president Obama when he visited Poland last year.  Walesa said at that time, he was “too busy” to meet with President Obama.....that he had “a very tight schedule and it doesn’t suit me.”

Mr. Walesa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for real accomplishments that lead his country out of tyranny.  He went on to become the President of his free country and is well known for his courage.  If anyone knows the corruption, brutality and suffocation of what it is like to live under communism, Lech Walesa and his countrymen do.  So when they honor President Reagan, it comes from a deep appreciation of his greatness.

President Reagan,  used his Irish gift to hold up a torch of hope for all of those around the world who yearned for freedom and prosperity.  Che Guevara, another man with Irish roots, held a revolver to the heads of the innocent people he assassinated.

One man deserves monuments, honor and accolades.  The other man deserves ignominy and scorn.

One man deserves statues, the other one deserves to be in a wax museum.

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