Robin Reed, slated to become the next president of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation on Monday, is standing by his predecessor’s decision to install a bust of dictator Josef Stalin at the memorial in Bedford, Va.
“At this point in time I certainly am not going to re-evaluate that,” he said in an interview Tuesday with The Washington Times.
While Mr. Reed said he can “appreciate the concern” of locals who have voiced their opposition to the bust, he said the bust can serve as a teaching tool to make visitors recognize the importance of Stalin as one of the leaders in World War II.
To those who argue that Stalin’s force weren’t present on the beaches of Normandy in 1944 and had nothing to do with the D-Day invasion, Mr. Reed said Stalin still deserves credit as someone who contributed to the success of the war.
Many groups and locals have voiced their opposition to a monument to the dictator responsible for the deaths of about 20 million in the town of Bedford, which lost more men per capita than any other U.S. city during World War II. Men from Bedford were in the front attacking lines on D-Day, and 21 of them lost their lives.
Mr. Reed said the foundation’s board of directors will seriously consider any petition that comes before them, such as the one in the works by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
As of Monday, the petition had more than 600 confirmed signatures from 45 states and 20 countries. Mr. Reed said William McIntosh, the outgoing president of the foundation, had been very responsible, and that he intended to pick up where Mr. McIntosh left off.
“It is our job now to take the memorial to the next level,” Mr. Reed said.