This Sunday, people around the world will honor the 66th anniversary of D-Day, when over 160,000 troops from the United States, Britain, France and Canada bravely stormed the beaches of Normandy, marking a turning point in World War II. In Bedford, Virginia, a memorial to the invasion will be unveiled with statues of western Allied leaders, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Harry Truman. The memorial will also include a bust of dictator Joseph Stalin.
Residents of Bedford are rightfully outraged. Annie Pollard, a Bedford County supervisor, and a volunteer at the memorial told the Lynchburg News and Advance: “I just don’t think it belongs on the hill with them…To me, he (Stalin) is just a murderer. I just can’t see how he fits in with the memorial. They are people we want to remember. He’s someone I’d rather forget.”
James Morrison and fellow veterans from the Bedford Post 54 of the American Legion are equally outraged and have been fighting the effort since the plan was announced in 2007. Morrison, author of the book “Bedford Goes to War: The Heroic Story of a Small Virginia Community in World War II” said: “It’s a disgrace and a dishonor to the veterans.”
So why do it? William McIntosh, the president of the Memorial Foundation said: “He certainly was a fact of life and a major ally during the second World War … There’s nothing about the presentation that’s going to be flattering of Stalin.”
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, statues of Joseph Stalin have been torn down all over Europe and even in the former Soviet Union itself. The world is closer than ever before to a consensus on the evils of communism and Stalin’s primary role in the worst crimes of the last century. And yet a statue of Stalin is included in the National D-Day Memorial, to be dedicated in Bedford, Virginia, this Sunday, June 6.
Near the statue of Stalin, a plaque catalogues Stalin’s crimes against millions of people both in Russia and throughout Europe. But no mere plaque can justify the inclusion of the statue which dishonors the heroic individuals who sacrificed so much on D-Day and in the Cold War.
A bust of Joseph Stalin has no place in a memorial whose purpose is to salute the brave soldiers who made D-Day a vital victory in the crusade for freedom.
It’s time for Mr. McIntosh and those responsible for the memorial in Bedford to do the right thing. Follow the lead of those who were oppressed under Joseph Stalin and tear down this statue. You can learn more about the victims of communism at www.victimsofcommunism.org.