Monument for Victims of Communism
A new monument is planned for Washington, D.C. – the International Victims of Communism Memorial, commemorating the more than 100 million lives lost to the enslaving ideology.
Members of the foundation behind the monument are meeting this week at a fund-raiser and will bestow the group’s annual Truman-Reagan Freedom Awards, presented this year to President Reagan’s arms control adviser, Gen. Edward Rowny; the Polish Solidarity Movement of the 1980, and Pope John Paul II, whose posthumous award will be accepted by the Apostolic Nuncio to America, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo.
If the foundation raises the $650,000 required for the memorial, ground will be broken this spring and the monument should be completed in six months, foundation chairman Lee Edwards told the New York Sun.
The group has received about $500,000 so far, and additional fund-raisers are planned, including a February event in New York to be headlines by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
The monument will be a 10-foot bronze replica of the "Goddess of Democracy” statue erected by Chinese students and destroyed by Red Chinese troops in Tiananmen Square in 1989. The image is based on the Statue of Liberty.
Other images that were considered include barbed wire to symbolize the gulags, boats for the Vietnamese "boat people,” a replica of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, and a field of skulls to represent the Cambodian killing fields under Pol Pot, according to the Sun.
The "Democracy” statue will stand on a three-foot granite pedestal and be located at a major intersection on a lot approved by the National Parks Service in April. Congress and President Clinton approved the monument in 1993, and President Bush has agreed to serve as the foundation’s honorary chairman.
"People are quite aware of what the Nazis did, but they are not aware of what the communists did,” said Richard Pipes, a noted Sovietologist and Harvard professor who helped document the death toll due to communism.
"There is this general sort of presumption, particularly among intellectuals, that, ‘Oh, communism was a good idea that didn’t quite work out so well.’
"But in terms of human casualties, what went on in Russia and China is outrageous. I think this kind of memorial will make people aware of it.”