As the blue sheet was lifted, the audience applauded as a new statue of former President Ronald Reagan was unveiled Friday afternoon at Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley.
Government officials, military veterans and other members of the community waited for the unveiling as children rode the swings in a park playground nearby.
“We are all here today to honor Reagan and to collectively build his legacy,” said Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do, whose District 1 includes Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Westminster.
Do’s chief of staff, Brian Probolsky, said he and Do spoke about the project after Do was sworn into office this year. They knew the statue had to go in Mile Square Park because of its historical link to Reagan, who launched his 1984 presidential reelection campaign there.
Reagan, a Republican who served as the 40th president, died in 2004 at age 93.
“This is something we had been talking about for a while; it’s been months in the making,” Probolsky said. “And this is a great spot because it has a lot of access to it, and people can see it from all angles.”
The statue, funded by private donations, isn’t finished yet.
“There will be 15 plaques around the statue with quotes from President Reagan,” Do said.
He said he hopes to see other memorials placed in the park.
Former Rep. Christopher Cox, a Republican from Newport Beach who served 17 years in the House starting in 1989, was the keynote speaker at Friday’s unveiling. He told the audience about his experiences working in the Reagan administration during the 1980s.
“When I first met President Ronald Reagan, I was already working for him,” Cox said. From that day on, Reagan always tried to make him feel at ease, he said.
From 1986 to 1988, Cox was the senior associate counsel to the president.
“He inspired an entire nation,” Cox said. “We know that he had a great sense of humor and was charismatic, but he was also tough.”