Fifty-five years ago, freedom reigned for a brief moment in Communist Hungary. On October 23, 1956, student protesters marched through the streets of Budapest demanding an immediate end to their Soviet-dominated government.
Before long, the demonstrators had dissolved the Communist regime and set up an interim government based on democratic principles.
But the miracle was short-lived. Two weeks later, Soviet troops invaded Budapest to crush the revolt, which they did swiftly and ruthlessly. In total, more than 2,500 Hungarians were killed in the two-week revolution. The flicker of freedom behind the Iron Curtain had been extinguished.
Today, with a statue in the appropriately named Freedom Square in Budapest, Hungarians will honor the man who helped secure their freedom at last from Communist rule. It is just one of four celebrations being held this week across Europe to honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ronald Reagan organized by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. The Czech Republic, Poland and Great Britain will also hold events in honor of the 40th president and his legacy in bringing down the Iron Curtain.