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  • D-Day Memorial Board to Relocate Stalin Sculpture

    The National D-Day Memorial Foundation Board plans to relocate a controversial bust of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin — but not because the statue has drawn wide criticism, Foundation president Robin Reed said yesterday. The bust was removed from the memorial last night and will be reinstalled at a later date.

    “I didn’t remove the bust in light of the opposition,” Reed said. “If anything, the opposition has served as a catalyst for me to kind of look at the reinterpretation of [the memorial design] sooner rather than later.”

    The bust is part of a wider display of Allied Leaders — including Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill — at the Bedford, Va., memorial. That particular display was designed to educate memorial visitors about the context in which D-Day occurred and it was doing that, Reed said, but he and the other board members still became concerned that the exhibit — at least in its original location — detracted from the overall purpose of the memorial.

    “We feel that those two interpretive messages being in such close proximity to each other — the story about the soldiers’ valor, fidelity and sacrifice and the Allied Leaders’ story — are in conflict with one another and really kind of dilute one another,” Reed said.

    That’s just what critics have been saying since the installation of the bust in early June.

    “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,” said Lee Edwards, chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

    Annie Pollard, vice chairman of the Bedford County Board of Supervisors, which in June voted unanimously to object to the inclusion of the statue at the memorial, said the memorial’s purpose is to honor D-Day veterans. “I don’t see where Stalin fits in,” she said.

    Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA), who represents Bedford, publicly opposed the sculpture for similar reasons. And more than 4,500 people have signed an online petition that calls for its removal.

    Yet, the D-Day Memorial Foundation Board elected only to relocate the bust, rather than remove it.

    “Our intention is to take all four of the Allied Leaders’ statuary down until which time we can plan a better interpretive space at the Memorial with the rest of the political leaders and sort of separate the political story from the military story,” Reed said.

    The board has heard from people on all sides of the debate, Reed said, but he and the other board members still stand by the original justification for the statue’s inclusion. War makes strange bedfellows and the bust makes that point clear, he said.

    “These Allies that we joined forces with — one of them is probably one of the most infamous individuals in terms of crimes against humanity that the world has ever known and we talk about that story already in the interpretive plaque [that accompanies the bust],” Reed said. “I think that we probably have done more to educate the American public about Stalin in the last 15 weeks than probably has been done in a long, long time.”

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to D-Day Memorial Board to Relocate Stalin Sculpture

    1. Colin Hooper, Richmo says:

      We need to understand they have the right to put the bust of Stalin up. I won't comment on the wisdom of having….oh damn, slipped into spineless wimp speak there for a second.

      OK, so Russian soldiers were involved with D-day? That's a new one. Not to say they weren't fighting their butts off in their own land and begging us to open up a second front in the war, but any military historian will tell you defending is a lot easier than attacking. When the attack is over the sea its even more difficult.

      Roosevelt, check. Churchill, check. Stalin, uhh, nyet! Not sure who else's bust is involved, but how about William King, PM of the Canadian soldiers that landed on Juno Beach. Or John Curtin from Australia. Or Stanislaw Mikolajczyk from Poland's exiled government. All countries that were involved DIRECTLY with the D-day invasion.

      Can we please stop trying to rewrite history. I would rather our government not even teach our history if they are going to purposely distort it.


    2. Mark Steven Zuelke says:

      This memorial committee needs to reconvene sometime to consider adding a General Robert E. Lee memorial to the mall in Washington, DC. The General fought valiantly and was a true war hero to many Americans.

    3. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      The new interpretation I'd like to see is to put Stalins mug on the back of a donkey! Now that we have a new Communist America, it is arguable that he is one of the Founders of our Country. Therefor he belongs on the Capital Rotunda (until 2012).

    4. Pingback: D-Day Memorial Board to Relocate The Communist Stalin Sculpture

    5. John says:

      It is difficult to believe that D-Day Memorial directors are putting Stalin on a pedestal, side by side with our American heroes. Give me a break.

      Here's a protest petition that collected nearly 5,000 signatures already. Maybe others will like to sign on to it as well.


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