Ronald Reagan statue unveiled at National Airport

The 9-foot tall statue was unveiled at National Airport on Tuesday.

(AP, ABC7) — More than a decade after it was officially renamed, a nine-foot statue honoring Ronald Reagan was unveiled at the airport that now bears his name.

At 9 feet tall, it stands larger than life.

“A glorious day to unveil a statue of a glorious man. Today he stands as one of America's most admired presidents,” said John Heubusch of the Ronal Reagan Presidential Foundation.

The bronze sculpture stands in a small grassy peninsula between the old A-terminal and the ramp leading up to the new B and C terminals. The airport was renamed 13 years ago in Reagan's honor.

“It was perfect,” retired Senator Bob Dole said of the statue’s unveiling. “Good rendition, nice young sculptor, did a great job.”

Sculptor Chas Fagan never met Reagan, but said he wanted to portray a strong, welcoming, upbeat leader.

“That was my hope. not to come away with something very heavy, sedate feeling from a statue, but something that's actually uplifting and moving,” he said.

As welcoming as Reagan appears, his unveiling wasn't quite so welcome for people trying to get to the airport. Traffic was backed up as several lanes were shut down for the midday ceremony.

The airport just outside the nation's capital has borne Reagan's name since 1998, following the passage of Congressional legislation that was opposed by some who were not enamored of Reagan's legacy.

The statue cost $900,000 and was paid for by private donations.