Long-time anti-communists and embassies of Central and Eastern European countries gathered to pay their respects at the only memorial dedicated to the victims of global communism.
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Every year, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOCMF) commemorates the tragic losses the world's nations have suffered due to Communist ideology and its oppressive regimes.
Ambassador Szapáry, who himself fled Hungary during the 1956 revolution, laid a wreath in the name of the Hungarian people at theVictims of Communism Memorial erected five years ago.
Lee Edwards, President of the VOCMF in his introduction announced that Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán was the first to pledge a financial contribution to the construction of a brick and mortar museum on communism.He expressed the Foundation's deep gratitude to the Prime Minister for stepping forward in support of this important project.
Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, drew the attention of the audience to the hundreds of millions of forgotten casualties of communism, the victims of forced abortions. Although the VOCMF commemorates the one hundred million victims of communism, she said that approxiamtely another 400 million lives of unborn girls and women were shed due to China's brutal one child policy.
Hungarian-American Congressman Andrew Harris (R-MD), whose father spent two years in the Gulag before escaping to the United States called for the free people of the world to join together to defeat communism which is still very much alive in certain parts of the world.
Speaking about her personal experiences living through both Nazism and communism, Annette Lantos, the wife of late Congressman Tom Lantos, said "there is a temptation to forget" which we must resist. Reading from her mother's diaries, Annette Tillemann-Dick, daughter of Tom Lantos, said that despite the feeling of destruction and death, there was always a feeling of exuberance and second chance among Hungarians to rebuild the shattered lives. Ms Annette Lantos importantly concluded that "Communism devastates not only the individual, but also the spirit of a nation."
Former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, who received this year's Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom from the VOCMF for his life-long dedication to fight Communism emphasized that "total ideology always exacted tragedy...and communism is responsible for more deaths than any other ideology in the world."
Following the speeches and award ceremony, ambassadors and representatives from thirteen embassies along with representatives of ethnic organizations all laid their wreaths at the Memorial to honor those who fell victim to history's most destructive ideology that shatters lives to this very day.