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The bust of Joseph Stalin may return to the National D-Day Memorial by spring, but it will be exhibited differently.
The statue of the Soviet dictator, which stirred controversy after its installation in June, is slated for inclusion in a new Allied leaders section set to take shape soon, said Robin Reed, the Bedford memorial’s president.
The new section also will include the busts of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Harry S Truman, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Clement Attlee and Chiang Kai-shek.
Reed said he intends to “fast track” the new exhibit to spring 2011 but did not mention a specific date or an exact location on the grounds.
“We’re still working on the design and the best way to configure it,” Reed said.
The Stalin piece drew heavy criticism when it was installed June 1 — about four weeks before Reed replaced William McIntosh, who retired as the memorial’s president after nine years in the position.
Veterans, among others, argued that the bust defiled the memorial and its purpose of honoring soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II.
The Stalin bust had stood apart from those of other Allied leaders — it was close to the parking area by Lawhorne Circle, an area that pays tribute to Allied fliers who took to the skies in support of the invasion.
The Bedford County Board of Supervisors and the American Legion passed resolutions opposing the installation of the bust. U.S. Reps. Tom Perriello (D-5th District) and Bob Goodlatte (R-6th District) also opposed it in letters to the foundation.
The memorial announced in late September that it would take down the Stalin piece, along with that of Chinese dictator Chiang Kai-shek, but Reed insisted the move was temporary and not a bow to public pressure. The two busts were removed just after the announcement was made.
Future display of Allied leaders will better depict the political affiliations that led to D-Day, Reed said.
He said he felt a “disservice to both stories” was done in the statues’ initial placement. The stories are the political connections behind D-Day and the operation itself.
“We needed to separate the two so they wouldn’t detract from each other,” Reed said.
Though Stalin is blamed for killing and imprisoning millions, Soviet troops died fighting Nazi forces during World War II, and his attacks on Hitler’s Eastern front might have made Allied victories on the Western front possible, some historians say.
The artwork, sculpted by a Lynchburg College professor, is not likely to gain favor from many who oppose it, no matter how it is placed.
Nick Soukhanov, post commander of the Bedford Post 54 of the American Legion, said opposition to Stalin remains very strong.
“We’re not going to stop,” he said of the group’s stance.
The concept of Stalin at the area attraction was a “shock” to post veterans who have been against it since 2007, when they first heard of it, he said.
The bust “just doesn’t belong there” and is “insulting” to veterans who have made their feelings known, Soukhanov said.
“We never wanted to do anything to hurt the memorial,” he said of veterans’ protest. “They (memorial officials) are hurting themselves.”
Announcement does little to satisfy those against it
By John Barnhart
Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 9:33 am
The National D-Day Memorial Foundation’s decision to temporarily remove the bust of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin has not satisfied the bust’s opponents.
According to Robin Reed, the foundation’s president, the bust will be stored until an appropriate venue of the display of busts of allied political leaders is developed.
Jim Morrison, a vocal opponent, likened the decision to a shell game — a pea is placed under one of three shells on a table and the shells are moved around.
“In the final analysis, the pea is still on the table,” said Morrison.
Morrison said that the decision to take down the Stalin bust, and the bust of Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek, indicates that the Foundation realizes that it was a mistake to put them up in the first place.
However, the decision means that the bust will still be at the National D-Day Memorial site, somewhere.
“The bust of Stalin does not belong at the Memorial,” Morrison said.
The National D-Day Memorial is no longer adorned with a bust of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. The folks running the show there decided to take it down on Tuesday. That would seem fitting, since Stalin was a murderous thug whose initial alliance with Adolf Hitler helped make the Allied invasion at Normandy necessary.
But, unfortunately, this move does not mean the National D-Day Memorial Foundation has come to its senses about the appropriateness of honoring a brutal dictator at a site that is supposed to honor the sacrifices of thousands of American, British, and Canadian soliders. Nor does it mean the Foundation has heeded the outrage its initial memorial design had generated.
BEDFORD — The National D-Day Memorial’s bust of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, which triggered a torrent of protest this summer, was removed from its pedestal Tuesday evening.
The ouster is not permanent and the Stalin statue — along with other sculptures of World War II Allied world leaders — will return at an unspecified time when they can be placed in a “more appropriate venue” for interpretation at the memorial, the foundation that operates the Bedford site announced Tuesday.
Statues of Stalin, and Chiang Kai-shek, who led China’s military during World War II, were taken down Tuesday.
The national convention of the American Legion joins a long list of Americans of all political views in condemning inclusion of a bust of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. Some 3,000 delegates last week adopted a resolution saying the Stalin bust “flies in the face of history which has seen countries tearing down—not erecting—statues of Stalin.”
So far, the reaction of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation, which installed the Stalin bust in June and in the wake of outrage is “reviewing” the decision, continues to be … silence.
By Rex Bowman The 2.5 million-member American Legion expressed its displeasure Thursday with the placement of a bust of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, saying the site now has the “notorious distinction of probably having the only bust or statue of Stalin in America.”
At its annual convention in Milwaukee, roughly 3,000 delegates adopted a resolution telling the National D-Day Memorial Foundation the bust is inappropriate. The foundation’s decision to place the bust at the memorial in June, the legion said, flies “in the face of history which has seen countries tearing down—not erecting—statues of Stalin.”
The legion warned that the continued presence of the bust could dampen visitation to the memorial and curtail the number of people willing to volunteer at the site. About 75,000 people annually visit the cash-strapped memorial.
Statement of the Central and East European Coalition regarding the bust of
Josef Stalin at the National D-Day Memorial
July 15, 2010
The Central and East European Coalition (CEEC)*, an organization representing more than twenty million Americans who trace their heritage to that region of the world, is deeply troubled that the bust of Soviet mass murderer Josef Stalin has been installed at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia and remains there at the present time.
The fact that a bust of this brutal communist dictator remains at the center of a memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives fighting to liberate millions oppressed by an evil regime, is insulting as it is historically inaccurate. The argument from National D-Day Memorial officials that Stalin needs to be included because he secured the eastern front so that the Allies could launch the invasion of Western Europe is unfathomable. The Foundation must be aware of the fact that Stalin played no role whatsoever in securing a victory for the Allied forces on the beaches of Normandy. We remind the Foundation that shortly before the invasion was launched, in the winter of 1943, Stalin at the Tehran Conference was not interested in helping to plan the invasion of Western Europe, but was instead pressing Allied leaders to allow him to carve up Poland and most other areas of Central and Eastern Europe.
As long as the bust of Stalin remains, the Foundation only helps to serve the interests of those who would like to glorify Stalin and recreate a Stalinist and totalitarian world order. Given that the United States has always prided itself on standing up for oppressed peoples all over the world, but especially in areas under totalitarian communist rule, the Foundation must do the honorable thing and remove this bust at once. As an organization representing millions of Americans who trace their family origins back to Central and Eastern Europe, we are particularly aware of the atrocious acts committed by Stalin before, during, and after World War II. Many of the American citizens represented through our organization not only fought bravely against Nazism, but fought to liberate the countries which fell under Stalin’s totalitarian rule during the Cold War. The least that we can do to show them our respect and gratitude for all that they have done and continue to do to preserve our fundamental freedoms is to strongly urge that the bust of Stalin be removed.
By Dr. Paul Kengor
Call it another Twilight Zone moment; another ignominious contribution to the “you-can’t-make-this-up” category. First, Mao Tse-tung was honored by oblivious New Yorkers, with their Empire State Building aglow in red and yellow last October to commemorate the birth of Red China. Mao’s nearest rival for trophy of top mass murderer in history was Joseph Stalin. Perhaps other clueless Americans could find a way to honor Stalin, too—maybe closer to Washington, DC, the nation’s capital?
Hey, don’t laugh. The National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia has done just that, erecting a statue of Stalin. No, I’m not kidding.
CITIZEN’S PETITION TO REMOVE THE STALIN STATUE FROM THE NATIONAL D-DAY MEMORIAL,
TO: NATIONAL D-DAY MEMORIAL FOUNDATION
SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR KENNETH SALAZAR
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