WARSAW, Poland, June 9 (UPI) -- Poland's Solidarity founder Lech Walesa will attend former U.S. President Ronald Reagan's state funeral Friday.
It was reported in Warsaw that Walesa will lead the Polish delegation to Washington.
As an electrician at the Lenin Shipyard in the Baltic port of Gdansk, Walesa organized Solidarnosc (Solidarity) in 1980.
The Catholic union quickly spread throughout the country challenging the authority of the Polish communist regime.
Polish-born Pope John Paul II received Walesa in the Vatican in 1981 and publicly supported Solidarity.
A decade later, due in large part to pressure from Solidarity, democratic elections were held in Poland for the first time. Solidarity won all the seats and Walesa was elected president.
The defeat of the communist regime in Poland, largest country in the Soviet bloc besides Russia itself, is seen by historians as a major factor in the the collapse of what Reagan called "the Evil Empire."
Nobel Peace Prize winner Walesa, 61, lives in retirement in Gdansk.