Hungary to unveil statue of late President George H.W. Bush

A statue of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush will be unveiled in October in Budapest’s Liberty Square, officials said Sunday.

In 1989, Bush became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hungary. He died in 2018 at the age of 94.

The statue, to be inaugurated on Oct. 23, “expresses our mutual appreciation and gratitude for the statesman, who contributed to shaping the future of Europe and within Hungary through his commitment and strong morals, and through his advocacy for democracy and against communist dictatorship,” said a joint statement from U.S. Ambassador David B. Cornstein and Gergely Gulyas, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff.

The statue of the 41st U.S. president is being created by Hungarian sculptor Istvan Mate, whose larger-than-life statue of former President Ronald Reagan was unveiled in Liberty Square in June 2011.

“It is fitting that the statue will be located close to that of U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Budapest, which will symbolize the joint fight of these two leaders to defeat, in President Reagan’s words, the ‘evil empire,’” the officials' statement added.

Liberty Square is surrounded by several key institutions, including the National Bank of Hungary, the U.S. Embassy and a huge building which housed Hungary first stock exchange during the first half of the 20th century.