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Victims of Communism Memorial Fundraising Goal is Reached; Ground-breaking Planned for September 2006

July 20, 2006

Washington, DC (JBANC) --- The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation announced on July 19 that it has met its fundraising goal of $825,000 and expects to break ground for its Memorial to the more than 100 million victims of communism in September.

"This is an all-important milestone in the history of the Foundation," said VOCMF Foundation Chairman Lee Edwards, "made possible by the generous support of an extraordinary coalition of patriotic individuals and ethnic communities, foundations and corporations, foreign governments and even political parties. Our memorial is truly an international memorial."

Baltic-American communities of Latvians, Estonians, and Lithuanians were singled out by Edwards as leading the drive to support the memorial in the ethnic communities in the United States, along with the Vietnamese-, Polish-, and Hungarian-American communities.

Internationally, the governments of Estonian, Lithuania, and Latvia have also led the way in Europe, giving nearly $11,000 to the cause. Support has also recently come from the government of the Czech Republic. In addition, former Czech President Vaclav Havel agreed in early July to join the Foundationís International Advisory Council.

The Foundation has applied to the National Park Service for a construction permit and expects to receive permission to proceed with ground-breaking in September. Dedication of the Memorial is scheduled for June 2007, the 20th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan's historic Brandenburg Gate speech when he said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

"Washington is a city of memorials and monuments to great events and great leaders," said Edwards. "How fitting that our Memorial with its bronze replica of the Goddess of Democracy erected in Tiananmen Square in 1989 will be located on Capitol Hill within view of the U.S. Capitol."

Founded in 1994, the non-profit Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is authorized under P.L. 103-199 to design, build and maintain a memorial to the victims of communism. Its advisory councils also include American and foreign leaders such as Jeane Kirkpatrick, Bob Dole, Claiborne Pell, Mrs. Lane Kirkland, Lech Walesa, Elena Bonner, and Vytautas Landsbergis. The Foundation's Honorary Chairman is President George W. Bush.

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JBANC represents the Estonian American National Council, Inc., the American Latvian Association, Inc. and the Lithuanian American Council, Inc. ###

CAPTION: Harry Wu (Laogai Research Foundation), Frank Calzon (Center for a Free Cuba), Lee Edwards, and Paul Goble (publisher of Window on Eurasia) during July 19 Captive Nations event in Washington, DC following announcement of VOC Memorial fundraising goal being reached.

Octobr 17, 2008 - President Bush Discusses the Visa Waiver Program
Office of the Press Secretary/ White House News

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. (Applause.) Please be seated, thank you. Welcome to the White House. I'm pleased to stand with the representatives of seven countries -- the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and South Korea -- that have met the requirements to be admitted to the United States Visa Waiver Program. Soon the citizens of these nations will be able to travel to the United States for business or tourism without a visa. I congratulate these close friends and allies on this achievement, and I thank you for joining us here.

I also thank Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of the Homeland -- Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff for working hard to make sure this day has finally arrived. Appreciate other members of the administration here and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

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