Baltic Freedom Fighters to be awarded Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom

One hundred years ago, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe declared their independence amid collapsing empires. But that independence was short-lived as Eastern Europe was consumed by the Nazi and Soviet empires. In the 1980s, Europe’s Captive Nations led the dismantling of the Soviet Union, and are once again free, prosperous, and vital members of the Free World.

On November 14th at Union Station in Washington, DC we will gather for our Triumph of Liberty Gala Dinner to remember all victims of tyranny, celebrate the heroes of liberty, and commit ourselves to confronting revisionist powers and to defending the independence of freedom-loving people.

During the gala, we will honor three Baltic freedom advocates with VOC’s Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom: former president of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus, Latvian MEP and author Sandra Kalniete, and Estonian MEP and Estonian National Independence Party founder Tunne Kelam.

The Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom is awarded each year to those individuals and institutions that have demonstrated a life-long commitment to freedom and democracy and opposition to communism and all other forms of tyranny.

"Communism was defeated, and democracy prevailed. Today, we no longer speak of communism as a viable alternative,” says Adamkus. “In this context, I cannot but express my genuine appreciation for the work that the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is doing."

“I am convinced that the disclosure and assessment of the crimes committed by the communist totalitarian regimes will lead to reconciliation,” says Sandra Kalniete. “However it can only be achieved by admitting responsibility, asking for forgiveness and fostering moral renewal. I want to keep the memories of the past alive, because there can be no reconciliation without truth and remembrance.”

“This Truman-Reagan medal belongs also to the 105 brave Estonian citizens who, 30 years ago, dared to challenge the all-mighty monopoly of the Communist Party and founded the first democratic political party in the Soviet Union—the Estonian National Independence Party,” says Kelam. “I am proud to have been one of them.”

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is a Washington-based, non-profit educational and human rights organization devoted to commemorating the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world and to the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes. VOC was authorized by a unanimous act of Congress on December 17, 1993 and signed by President Bill Clinton.

To request an interview with Marion Smith, please contact Naphtali Rivkin by email at naphtali.rivkin@victimsofcommunism.org or by phone at (202)-629-9500.

For details on the award ceremony at the Triumph of Liberty conference and gala dinner, visit the Triumph of Liberty website.