Mr. Speaker, there are many important and significant people in the world. If we looked at John Paul II as a person and not as the head of the church, we would have to recognize the huge impact he made on this world, especially Europe, which was under strict communist regime that many people thought would never end in our time. I can speak to that because I personally experienced it.
I was present at the first visit of Pope John Paul II to Poland, in 1978. I do not think I fully understood the meaning of his simple words “be not afraid”. I do not know how it happened, but people truly lost fear, which was the main tool in the state to control people. This happened, thanks to him. Now we have a free and democratic Europe. We have ended a cold war that lasted for so long.