WASHINGTON, D.C. The more than 100 million people globally who perished at the brutal and bloody hands of their forcefully imposed communist governments can rest in peace easier now by knowing that they have not been entirely forgotten. Until now, their glaring omission from mankind's collective memory had not been formally addressed, resulting in an obvious moral blind spot upon humanity. No longer will they be just a sometimes quoted mind-boggling statistic at academic seminars, or merely just another extremely sad footnote in history tomes.
The victims rightfully now have a very appropriate memorial dedicated to their everlasting memory here in the world's 'Capital of Democracy.' Within view of the U.S. Capitol and just 2 blocks from Union Station, there in a mini-park it profoundly stands: The Victims of Communism Memorial (VOCM). It is a bronze statue, 10 feet tall, which stands atop a granite pedestal. It is a modest sized monument to immortalize such a gigantic crime against humanity, but admirably carries out its mission in all of its stark simplicity.View to the US Capitol from the site of Goddess of Democracy (left)
The only inscriptions on-site both appear solely on the pedestal of the Memorial: "To the more than one hundred million victims of communism and to those who love liberty" on the front, and "To the freedom and independence of all captive nations and peoples" on the back (see it below).
The Memorial's statue is fittingly known as the Goddess of Democracy. She is a replica of the figure first erected and named by Chinese students during the 1989 Beijing/Tiananmen Square pro-democracy demonstrations, which eventually were brutally crushed with deadly force by tank-led and heavily armed troops of the Chinese Red Army. The freedom seeking students had, with purpose and conviction, loosely modeled their Goddess on the U.S. Statue of Liberty.
The VOCM dedication ceremonies were timed for, and held on, June 12, 2007, the 20th anniversary of President Ronald Regan's famous anti-communist 'Berlin Wall Speech.' The event was well attended by the ambassadors from 12 former communist countries, as well as citizens from still-communist China, Viet Nam and Cuba, along with many other notable and distinguished guests. The Republic of Poland was proudly represented by Ambassador Janusz Reiter.
The guest of honor was President George W. Bush. In his gripping speech he made 2 references to Poland when he made mention of the slain Polish priest Father Popieluszko and "the Poles massacred in the Katyn Forest," all of who were also being remembered by the spirit of Memorial. It is estimated that 1 million persons were killed for being 'politically undesirable' in the communist-dominated countries of Eastern Europe since 1945, when they became captive nations of the U.S.S.R. in the tumultuous aftermath of WW II, and then placed in isolation from the democratic world behind Josef Stalin's 'Iron Curtain,'
The VOCM was the burning vision of 74 years old historian Dr. Lee Edwards, its chairman, and senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. It took 16 long years of very hard work, with numerous bureaucratic snafus - along with a bipartisan Act of Congress and $1 million of private funding - to bring the project to fruition. He was bound, determined and morally driven not let the world forget the worst and most deadly plague that was ever unleashed upon it by man in the name of a failed totalitarian ideology: the false, corrupt and deadly concept of Communism.
And so now at intersecting Massachusetts and Virginia avenues, in northwest Washington, there stands the striking Goddess of Democracy: She is holding high her torch of freedom - like a beacon in the sky - to forever guide homage seekers to the hallowed site of remembrance.
The "100 Million" will no be forgotten after all.
Please visit the VOCM website at www.victimsofcommunism.org, for more information, and about plans for its future projects.