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U.S.-Baltic Foundation

USBF Supports Victims of Communism Foundation at Wreath Laying Ceremony

WASHINGTON, DC – Representatives of The U.S.-Baltic Foundation attended the wreath laying ceremony to help commemorate the one year anniversary of the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, DC.  The U.S.-Baltic Foundation proudly supports the work of the Victims of Communism Foundation, which organized the event.


Wreath Laying Ceremony Honors Victims of Communism Worldwide and Pays Tribute to Congressman Tom Lantos
June 12, 2008


1521 Sixteenth St., NW, Washington, DC 20036
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CONTACT: Ed Priola 202-627-9018


Washington, DC – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer topped a long list of distinguished speakers who spoke at a wreath laying ceremony at the Victims of Communism Memorial on Capitol Hill last Thursday, June 12.

The event honored the more than 100 million victims of communism worldwide and paid tribute to recently deceased Congressman Tom Lantos. More than a dozen ambassadors from Washington's diplomatic corps and over 200 international guests also participated in the observance.

Thursday's activities marked the first anniversary of the dedication of the Memorial in June 2007. Then Congressman Tom Lantos joined President George W. Bush and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher as dedication speakers-before an international crowd of nearly one thousand.

Lantos, who died in February, was posthumously awarded the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom-given to individuals who have distinguished themselves in opposing communism and tyranny. Previous medal recipients include Lech Walesa; Vaclav Havel; Elena Bonner; Pope John Paul II; William F. Buckley, Jr.; Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson; Sen. Jesse Helms and Sen. Joseph Lieberman. His wife, Annette Lantos, accepted the Medal on his behalf.

During his speech, Secretary Gutierrez stated that, "many great men and women have lived under tyranny." He added that, "many have fought back, stood for what is right and have made the cause of freedom and human dignity their own. Tom Lantos was one of those people."

Other featured speakers included: Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI); Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH); Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV); Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY); Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA); Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH); Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA); Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and former Rep. Don Ritter (R-PA).

Dr. Lee Edwards, Chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, the events sponsor, added that the outpouring of support by Members of Congress and the diplomatic corps for this first anniversary has been "phenomenal." In all, 23 nations and peoples were represented on Thursday.

Ambassadors and diplomats from an array of formerly communist nations, along with the leaders of numerous American-based groups laid memorial wreaths. Participating groups included the Joint Baltic American Committee, the National Federation of American Hungarians, the American Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce, the International Campaign for Tibet and the Crimean Tatar Assembly. Other groups included representatives from the still communist nations of Cuba, China, Vietnam and North Korea.

Following the ceremony, a preview of the forthcoming online Global Museum on Communism was presented at a nearby luncheon. The presentation highlighted exhibits on the former USSR, China and Tibet-slated to launch in January 2009.

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is dedicated to educating this generation and future generations about the history, philosophy and legacy of communism.

Event pictures may be found on Additional pictures are available upon request by contacting: Ed Priola at [email protected]