The small town of Bedford, Va., is home to 21 men who sacrificed their lives on D-Day, June 6, 1944. It is now also the home of one of the world's few public memorial busts of communist dictator Josef Stalin.
Local citizens and organizations have expressed their outrage over the installation of the bust at the National D-Day Memorial, which honored the 66th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy over the weekend. The bust of the Soviet Union's wartime leader was unveiled last week to accompany existing busts of U.S. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman as well as British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
"Having Stalin in our backyard, people are really upset about that," said Karl Altau, the managing director at the joint Baltic American National Committee that has helped in movements against the Stalin bust.
A Facebook page with more than 2,000 members as of Monday afternoon has been set up to protest the statue. In an online poll from the Bedford Bulletin, the town's local newspaper, 94.8 percent of 429 respondents said a bust of Stalin should not be placed at the National D-Day Memorial as of Monday afternoon.
Lee Edwards, chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, another organization involved in the protests against the statue, said he and others thought the prospect of a bust of Stalin was a joke when they first heard about it.
It was "too misplaced and ill-timed," he said.
But confusion soon gave way to frustration. "The National D-Day Memorial Foundation knows it made a monumental mistake by including Stalin in its memorial," he said...READ "Stalin Bust has Town Red Faced".