Dedication of the "Victims of Communism" Memorial
Congressman Rohrabacher's Speech at the Dedication of the Victims of Communism Memorial
Washington, Jun 12, 2007 - It is an appropriate time to be dedicating this memorial. It was 20 years ago this week that President Reagan gave his now famous Berlin Wall speech.
A columnist in the New York Times recently noted that the foreign policy gurus of that era, as compared to the American people in general, have not acknowledged the significance of that forceful challenge by President Reagan to the Communist Party boss Michael Gorbachov to“tear down this wall”.
The columnist noted that even George Shultz did not mention the speech in his lengthy memoirs of his years as President Reagan’s Secretary of State. Well, let’s set the record straight. George Shultz and the foreign policy elite, including Collin Powell, adamantly opposed that speech. They did everything they could to pressure President Reagan not to take such a tough public stand against the wall. They insisted that it would re-ignite “ill will” and would be taken as an insult to Gorbachov.
They were wrong and President Reagan’s moral clarity and commitment to confronting evil, rather then ignoring it for diplomatic or political purposes, carried the day. Instead of antagonizing the Kremlin leadership, the speech convinced them that the wall had to come down and yes, when it did communism crumbled along with it. The foreign policy elite, smug and arrogant would have prolonged the Cold War had they had their way.
Today, we commemorate the tens of millions of Victims of communism, that evil ideology that was a monstrous threat to the people of this planet for seven decades. We remember them and we are grateful to those who put themselves in harm’s way and often gave their lives to protect the free people of the world , to prevent us from becoming victims of communism.
We also are grateful for the courage and bold leadership of those, like Ronald Reagan, who stood tall when it counted so this murderous tyrannical scourge could be defeated and relegated to the dustbin of history.
Americans, and, yes American leaders, played the pivotal role in that historic battle which is fitting. We Americans represent every race, religion and ethic group found on this planet, so it comes to us to take the stand, to lead the way in those battles that determine the fate of mankind.
We stopped and defeated Japanese Militarism and Nazism. During the Cold War, sometimes suffering slings and arrows from front and back, America persevered and freedom prevailed over communism. The victimization sanctioned by that evil ideology stopped in what was The Soviet Union and it’s empire.
Yes, challenges remain in how we will deal with the remnants of Leninist tyranny in countries like China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam. Nevertheless there is a new scourge threatening the free people of the world in the form of radical Islam.
Americans will lead the way. Defeating this historic challenge as well. We will honor the victims of communism with our bravery to see that tyranny that would destroy the longing for freedom in the human heart will never victimize the people of the world again.
Congressman Tom Lantos (left) and Dana Rohrabacher at the dedication ceremony for the Victims of Communism Memorial
Thanks to Andrew Blasko of The Heritage Foundation for the photograph.