Saturday, September 30, 2006

Groundbreaking for Victims of Communism Memorial

The Washington Post reports:

In China's Tiananmen Square, the "Goddess of Democracy" created by student activists was demolished by communist tanks during the historic uprising in 1989. Now a 10-foot bronze copy of the statue is being erected in downtown Washington as a permanent tribute to the estimated 100 million people killed by various communist regimes.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the Victims of Communism Memorial was held yesterday at the site, a wedge of federal land where G Street NW meets Massachusetts and New Jersey avenues, near Union Station. The event drew about 100 people, including ambassadors and other officials from Poland, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and the Republic of China (Taiwan).

Reading both the Washington Times and Post articles finds an intesting pair of dueling quotes:
"Today, we proclaim that communism is indeed dead, but we will never forget those who communism murdered during its brief life on this planet," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, who sponsored the legislation that authorized the memorial.
Yet in the Post:

David Lee, Taiwan's representative in Washington, said the memorial will also remind people that the fight against communism is not over.

"We are still in a confrontational situation with communist China," Lee said, as he waited his turn yesterday to help shovel a bit of the earth. "That's the reason we think we need to be here."

The Times adds:

An inscription on the front pedestal of the memorial will read: "To the more than one hundred million victims of communism and to those who love liberty."

On the back pedestal, it will read: "To the freedom and independence of all captive nations and peoples."

The project was initially conceived as a $100 million bricks-and-mortar structure, similar to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

But various issues, including fundraising and location problems, forced organizers in 2003 to scale back the project to a memorial near the Capitol.

Officials originally hoped to build the statue on a 6,900-square-foot tract behind the Supreme Court in Northeast before advisory neighborhood commissioners disapproved in February 2005...

The dedication of the memorial is scheduled for June to coincide with the 20th anniversary of President Reagan's famed "tear down this wall" speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

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