Victims of Communism monument model.

Commie Casualties Get Monument

The Berlin Wall came down in 1989. It wasn't long afterward that Lee Edwards, an historian at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, launched a campaign to build a museum memorializing everyone who had died under communism (The fall of Soviet Russia, a more specific event, is remembered through creative uses of its junk.).

"We thought that someone would just come walking through the door and give us a check for $100 million," Lee told us. Lee obviously travels in well-heeled circles, but he soon learned that capitalism's champions were reluctant to fork over so much cash. "Raising that amount of money was a little more difficult than we had imagined."

Lee did manage to scrape together $1 million, which is just enough to get a statue erected in pricey Washington, DC. On June 12, 2007 -- the 20th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's "Tear down this wall!" speech -- the Victims of Communism Memorial was unveiled within view of the U.S. Capitol.

Victims of Communism memorial.

The monument is a 10-foot-tall, one-third scale replica of the "Goddess of Democracy" -- itself a vague variant of the Statue of Liberty -- which was built by protesters in Tienanmen Square before the Chinese army tore it down and then, probably, added a few more victims to the communist tote board. (Estimates of the number of dead ranged from 10,000 to 0.) Lee and his backers believe that, in all, 100 million people have been killed under communism. That certainly merits a statue in America, where we erect monuments to people who didn't even die.

"Our memorial will help to explain why we did fight the Cold War, and win it, and provide freedom for people around the world," Lee told us. "People go and see the Korean War Memorial, or the Vietnam War Memorial, and ask, 'Why did we fight those wars?' One of the big reasons we fought them is that we were resisting communism."

We asked Lee if the People's Republic of China -- which is still communist -- was upset by the Victims of Communism Memorial, whose design is, after all, a direct slap in their already-Red faces. Lee answered that the Chinese had lodged a protest, but that "it didn't do any good."

"This is a free country," he told us. "Unlike China."

88 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC
In the little triangle of land where Massachusetts Ave., New Jersey Ave., G St., and 1st St. intersect. On the south side of Massachusetts Ave., two blocks west of Union Station and five blocks north of the U.S. Capitol.
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