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Memorial Ceremony for Victims of Communism Took Place in Washington


No. 11-E

On Thursday, 9 June the victims of communist regimes were commemorated at the Victims of Communism Memorial near the Capitol in Washington, DC. The memorial ceremony has taken place every year since the memorial was opened in 2007.

At this year’s memorial ceremony, speeches were given by Chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation Dr. Lee Edwards; former Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky; former US ambassador to Estonia Aldona Wos; Annette Lantos, chairman of the Lantos Foundation and widow of Tom Lantos, the former chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives who opened the memorial together with George W. Bush; and the memorial’s sculptor Thomas Marsh. Representatives of former communist bloc countries participated in the wreath-placing ceremony as well as representatives of many Cuban, Chinese and Vietnamese refugee organisations in the USA. Wreaths were also placed on the memorial by Estonian Ambassador to the United States Väino Reinart along with Chairman of the Estonian American National Council Marju Rink-Abel.

In the speeches, the younger generations were called upon to not forget the crimes of communism and to remember the significance of the memorial. It was emphasised that although the Iron Curtain has fallen there are still many populations suffering under repressive regimes today, and we must continue to support them.

In 2009 the Washington-based Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation opened a virtual museum that focuses on the crimes of communism. The museum is increasingly being used all over the world for educational purposes. The virtual museum can be found at the web address The virtual museum also contains a gallery dedicated to Estonia.

Both the Victims of Communism Memorial and the virtual museum are international initiatives supported by the governments of Estonia and many other countries as well as thousands of organisations and private individuals the world over.

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