September 8, 2010
The American Legion has joined a number of others, including the European Parliament, in issuing a resolution condemning the presence of a bust of Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin at the National D-Day Memorial.
The latest action came at the Legion’s annual national convention, held in Milwaukee last week. The American Legion represents 2.5 million veterans.
The Legion resolution against the Stalin bust began when it was adopted by Bedford’s American Legion post. The Legion’s state level organization adopted it in July and it went on to the national organization.
The resolution states that “Joseph Stalin is one of the most reviled totalitarian dictators in modern history, who was responsible for the deaths of millions of people, contributed to the start of World War II in Europe, established Communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe, and bears chief responsibility for the Cold War, which resulted in the deaths of American and Allied servicemen.” It goes on to say that placing the Stalin bust on a pedestal at the Memorial gives many the impression that he is being honored. It also states that setting up the bust shows “insensitivity toward Polish, Czech and Slovak Allies whose countries were enslaved by Stalin after the war.”
According to Nick Soukhanov, the commander of Bedford’s Legion post, a delegation from the post met with the National D-Day Memorial Foundation’s board of directors on Aug. 12 to ask them to remove the bust. The delegation consisted of Nick Soukhanov and his wife, Anne, a member of the post’s auxiliary, and post members Jim Morrison, Harvey Clarke, Bob Lindell and Delegate Lacey Putney. Soukhanov said that Delegate Putney spoke about the Commonwealth’s role in providing several million dollars for the D-Day Memorial’s construction.
“We met with them, delivered our message, and still haven’t received any feedback,” Nick Soukhanov said Friday afternoon, the day after the Legion’s national organization issued its resolution.