A memorial was held in the nation’s capital on Friday to honor the millions of people who lost their lives due to communism around the world in the last century.
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) held its 16th annual wreath-laying ceremony, which brought together embassies, representatives of captive nations, and human rights organizations.
The event honored the more than 100 million victims of communism over the last century and those who still suffer under communist regimes, such as in China.
During his remarks at the ceremony, Lee Edwards, the founding chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, emphasized the importance of not overlooking the sacrifices made by people who suffered under communist regimes.
“We are resolved to keep coming back to the memorial every June until that inevitable day, when we know that China is free, Cuba is free, Vietnam is free, North Korea is free, and Laos is free,” he said, noting that over 1.5 billion people live under these repressive communist regimes.
“Just as the Berlin Wall fell and the evil empire collapsed, we are confident that communism will wind up on the ash heap of history and all the captive nations will be captive no more,” he said.
The VOC is a non-profit organization established by bipartisan legislation and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
Its objective is to educate people about communism’s ideology, history, and legacy and to advocate for the freedom of those still held captive in communist countries.
More Awareness Needed
Elizabeth Edwards Spalding, chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, said more must be done to inform the public and raise awareness about the perils of communism.
“There will be a victory. It’s just that we have to keep working toward it,” she told The Epoch Times. “There’s a lot of ignorance out there.”
Spalding noted that the collapse of the Soviet Union did not mark the end of communism or the threats it posed. And besides the public, she added, the leaders of the free world need a better understanding of communism.
“I think that President Biden himself typically has very good instincts, and I’d like him to be able to speak out more” against communism, Spalding said.
“I would call on all of our world leaders to realize that politics is ultimately based on ethics,” she said, urging Western governments and companies to disinvest from China.
“Let’s move past the policies that were never correct, that were broken, and really encourage people to disinvest from the PRC. And that’ll be one way to keep chipping away at the Chinese Communist Party,” she said.
The ceremony took place at the Victims of Communism Memorial statue near the U.S. Capitol. The figure is a replica of the “Goddess of Democracy” statue, which was created by protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989 but was later destroyed by the Chinese Communist Party during a violent clampdown.
Cuba, Laos, North Korea, Vietnam, and Venezuela are the countries where communism persists today, alongside China.
Even in nations where communism is not the dominant political system, socialist and communist ideas continue to influence government policies and social movements.
At this year’s event, Bhuchung Tsering, a Tibetan writer and human rights activist, received the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom for his efforts to bring freedom and democracy to Tibetans living under communist tyranny.
Last year, the foundation opened the Victims of Communism Museum in Washington. According to Ken Pope, CEO of the foundation, the objective of the VOC and the museum is to educate people and change perceptions about communism in American classrooms.
“Especially students and some teachers seem to have a romanticized vision of what socialism and communism really are,” he told The Epoch Times.
He cited China’s communist government as an example of a regime that engages in atrocities such as genocide, reeducation camps, sterilizations, and forced organ harvesting.
“Our mission really is to educate American citizens and citizens around the world about the true history of communism.”
From The Epoch Times