In Honor of Anticommunist Heroes
June 12, 2012
Mustafa Xhepa and Grigor Nosi laying the Albanian-American Freedom House wreath
Goddess of Freedom statue
Albanian-American Freedom House wreath
In memory of the heroes that perished while opposing communism, Mustafa Xhepa and Grigor Nosi on behalf of the Albanian-American Freedom House laid a wreath on the Goddess of Freedom statue during the fifth anniversary of the Victims of Communism Memorial. The moving service called anticommunist leaders representing many nations that experienced the terror of communist dictatorship, to action in order to expose the horrors of communism. Dr. Lee Edwards, Chairman of the non-profit educational organization Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, led the ceremonial wreath laying, and announced the speakers preceding the ceremony.
Dr. Lee Edwards opened the day’s ceremony by exalting the significance of anticommunism and anticommunist organizations and gatherings. He denoted anticommunism as the “international symbol of man’s innate desire for freedom,” and emphasized, “never again will we allow communism to terrorize and subjugate the world!” He also celebrated a milestone in his own efforts to educate the public on the treacherous reality of communism, for the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, made a generous monetary commitment to start the planning of the Museum on Communism in Washington, DC.
Among many distinguished speakers, Joe DioGuardi, former U.S. Congressmen of Albanian origin and President of the Albanian-American Civic League, recounted his experience in spurring an Albanian Anti-communist movement along with honorable Thomas Lantos. He described the Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha as a “psychopath, who tortured [Albanians], killed them, and took away their communal spirit.” He urged Albania to expose the terrors of Communism and reveal an accurate history of the communist crimes in order to restore Albanian “besa,” an ancient creed of trust.
Maryland Congressman Andy Harris supported the anticommunist cause and sympathized with the victims of communism, drawing on his own Ukrainian mother and Hungarian father’s experiences under the tortures of communism. He ended his speech by insisting, “free people around the world should join to defeat communism.” Keynote speaker Annette Lantos, wife of late congressman Thomas Lantos and Chairman of the Lantos Foundation, then shared her memories under communism in Hungary, while “refusing to forget and to let our government and people to forget the horrors from the old.” She called to attention the realities of the communist system, claiming, “Any noble ideas of this godless system of government are obscured completely by the communist commitment to deprive people of what is most valuable, the only thing that is inherently our own: our freedom of God, of action, of faith, and of choice.”
Aldona Wos, Former U.S. Ambassador to Estonia then presented Honorable Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, with the Truman-Reagan Medal for “lifelong opposition to communism, enormous dedication to freedom and democracy” and for distinguishing himself in opposing communism and tyranny. Donald Rumsfeld served as the 13th and 21st Secretary of Defense, helping break down the cold war and keep the American military at its best. He accepted the award and appealed to the audience, exclaiming, “May the Unites States of America always be a beacon of hope around the world.”
Organizations and Embassies placed their wreaths at the Victims of Communism Memorial. Following the wreath laying ceremony, the Gulag Exhibit at the Global Museum on Communism was launched at the Heritage Foundation. The launch looked at a virtual Gulag camp featured in the online museum and a ten-lesson plan on communism for high school sophomores. Designer of the virtual Gulag, Marcus Kolga, and Chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation that started the online museum, Dr. Lee Edwards, stressed the importance of the museum in exposing exact truths regarding communist regimes around the globe, from oppressive leaders to the state of internment camps.
In a question and answer session with Dr. Lee Edwards, Mustafa Xhepa, a Member of the Board of Directors of the Albanian-American Freedom House, asked Dr. Lee Edwards if the U.S. Government would be involved in building the Museum on Communist Crimes in Washington, D.C. Dr. Edwards responded, assuring that the organization intended to request aid from the U.S. Government, and he again thanked the Hungarian Prime Minister for his donation to support building this museum on or near the national mall. According to Dr. Lee Edwards, the building of the museum would require at least 40 to 50 million dollars, an amount Dr. Edwards recognized would not be easy to collect. The creation of a museum in the capital of the free world for the purpose of bringing to light the crimes committed by communist governments, is the culmination of many organizations’ efforts to expose communism and its crimes against humanity.
Mustafa Xhepa engages in a question and answer session with Dr. Lee Edwards