Stalin bust at memorial draws protests

June 15, 2010 at 5:00 PM

ROANOKE, Va., June 15 (UPI) -- Veterans and volunteers at a D-Day memorial in Virginia picketed the site to protest the inclusion of a bust of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, observers said.

Protesters carried signs saying "Ho Ho Ho Joe's Gotta Go!" and "Stalin murdered millions," The Roanoke (Va.) Times reported Tuesday.

About two dozen volunteers, area residents and veterans took part in the protest at the entrance to the Bedford, Va., memorial, a target of criticism since the June 1 installation of the bronze bust of Stalin, the newspaper said.

The memorial's position, officials say, is it can't tell the story of the D-Day invasion without acknowledging Stalin's role as the leader of Russia, an ally.

The dedication on a plaque beneath the bust is to the memory of "the tens of millions who died under Stalin's rule."

Other busts at the memorial include Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek, the Times reported.

One local veteran said Stalin has no place at the site.

"This memorial," retired Army Lt. Col. Harvey Clarke said, "was meant to go up to D-Day and honor the people who died that day. Period."

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