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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.

Morrison was part of an American Legion delegation that met with Dr. William McIntosh, Reed’s predecessor, in 2007. He said that they told Dr. McIntosh that a plaque would be fine, but a bust gives the impression that a person is being honored.
He said that he plans to continue opposition to the bust. He also said that he will continue suspending any support to the Memorial as long as the Stalin bust remains at the Memorial’s site.
“The bust of Stalin does not belong anywhere on the grounds of the Memorial,” said Nick Soukhanov, commander of Bedford’s American Legion Soukhanov said that the post does not consider the decision to be a compromise at all. He said that taking the bust down only to put it back up again makes no sense.
“We’ll continue to oppose it,” he said. “We’re not backing off.”
Bob Lindell called the decision “completely inadequate.” Lindell had been a regular volunteer at the Memorial until he took part in a protest against the bust in June. He was “fired” right after a photo of him participating in the protest appeared in the Bedford Bulletin.
“It does not belong there with all those heroes who died on D-Day,” Lindell said. “Absolutely not.”
Lindell said that the National D-Day Memorial should keep its focus on D-Day.
“We have a World War II memorial in Washington,” he commented.
District 6 Supervisor Annie Pollard isn’t impressed with the decision either. Pollard and her late husband, Bobby Pollard, were regular volunteers at the Memorial. Their volunteering dates back to 2000, when the Memorial opened to visitors on a limited basis prior to its official opening on June 6, 2001.
“I really don’t see it as a solution at all,” she said.
Pollard said that she sees Stalin as no different than Hitler and putting his bust at the Memorial is a slap in the face to veterans. She believes that the only solution is to permanently remove it.
“Any time you put a person on a pedestal, you are honoring him,” she said.
Pollard said that she has not been to the Memorial since the Stalin bust was put up at the beginning of June. She said that she will not support the Memorial as long as that bust remains on the site.
She said that her level of volunteering at the Memorial had already decreased due to the demands of her involvement with the Bedford Museum. She was still, however, volunteering when Dr. McIntosh met with volunteers in the spring. She said that these spring meetings were normal so that volunteers could be briefed on what was new before the tourist season.
According to Pollard, “He said, if you don’t agree with me, find someplace else to volunteer.”
Pollard said there are now a group about 100 former volunteers who get together on a regular basis.
“We all just loved that place and what it stood for,” she said.
Pollard knows Lindell and said that he was one of the most knowledgeable of the volunteers who gave guided tours.
“They [tourists] would just rave about how good he was,” she said.