Lest We Forget; Erect Memorial for Victims of Communism

Article excerpt


We are consumed today wondering about how we can defend our country against the scourge of radical, militant Islam and the terrorism it breeds, but caught up in the present as we are, we must not neglect the past. Honoring victory in past struggles, commemorating the sacrifice of human lives, will help us face today's dangers. We can all take heart when we consider that the free world did win against the ideology of Communism, which spread its tentacles to every continent.

For more than 10 years, dedicated people have been working hard to give Washington a memorial to the victims of Communism. By the estimate of Hoover historian Robert Conquest, 100 million people lost their lives to Communism in the 20th century.

In the words of President Harry Truman, "Communism subjects the individual to arrest without lawful cause, punishment without trial, and forced labor as the right of the state. It decrees what information he shall receive, what art he shall produce, what leaders he shall follow, and what thoughts he shall think." We must never forget the hideous crimes committed against human beings in the name of the state.

The memorial project is now at long last within sight of completion and could be ready for inauguration this year. But only if the National Capital Planning Commission gives its final permission for the chosen site, one quarter-acre of land between Union Station, the Mall and the Capitol, on Louisiana Avenue and First Street N.W.

At a meeting of the commission in December, unfortunately, members chose to kick the ball down the road and failed to reach a decision. The next meeting of the commission is scheduled for later this spring, possibly in May. At that time, the commission should grant its approval and allow this very important project to move forward without further delay.

Why a memorial to the victims of Communism in Washington? For the exact same reason we now have a memorial to World War II, currently in its final stages of completion. The fight against fascism in Europe was indeed America's war, and so was the fight against Communism worldwide, from the Cold War in Europe to Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa. The number of Americans whose ethnic background derives from former Communist countries is as many as 26 million; the cost in American lives and in bullion was great. …