Tribute to congressman Tom Lantos
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer will top the list of speakers and guests from Capitol Hill and Washington’s diplomatic corps to attend a June 12 wreath laying ceremony at the Victims of Communism Memorial (located on Capitol Hill, see victimsofcommunism.org for map and directions).
Featured speakers will also include: Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI); Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH); Rep. Steve King (R-IA); Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV); Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY); Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and former Rep. Don Ritter (R-PA).
Former California Congressman Tom Lantos will be awarded the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom (posthumously) during the ceremony. The Medal is given to individuals who have distinguished themselves in opposing communism and tyranny. His wife, Annette Lantos, will accept the Medal on his behalf. Previous medal recipients include: Lech Walesa; Vaclav Havel; Elena Bonner; Pope John Paul II; William F. Buckley, Jr.; Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson; Sen. Jesse Helms and Sen. Joseph Lieberman.
The ceremony marks the first anniversary of the dedication of the memorial. During the 2007 event, Tom Lantos joined President George W. Bush and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher as dedication speakers before an international crowd of nearly one thousand. According to Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation Chairman, Dr. Lee Edwards, “the memorial honors the more than 100 million people who died under communism.”
Edwards added that the outpouring of support by Members of Congress and the diplomatic corps for this first anniversary has been “phenomenal.” In all, 23 nations and peoples will be represented at the event on Thursday.
Ambassadors and diplomats from an array of formerly communist nations, along with the leaders of numerous American-based groups and representative from the still communist nations of Cuba, China, Vietnam and captive Tibet, will lay memorial wreaths.
Following the ceremony, a preview of the upcoming online Global Museum on Communism will be presented at a nearby luncheon (press invited). The preview will highlight exhibits on the former USSR, China and Tibet and is slated to launch January 2009.
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is dedicated to educating this generation and future generations about the history, philosophy and legacy of communism.
Wreath laying ceremony to honor the victims of Communism worldwide