Pictured are commemoration speakers, from left to right: Lithuanian Ambassador Rolandas Kriščiūnas; VOC Executive Director Marion Smith; Latvian Deputy Chief of Mission Ilmars Breidaks; and Estonian Deputy Chief of Mission Marki Tihhonova-Kreek. Photo: Marju Rink-Abel
Up: On August 23, The Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) and the Victims of Communism (VOC) Memorial Foundation organized a Black Ribbon Day commemoration and wreath-laying ceremony at the Victims of Communism memorial in Washington DC.
On Black Ribbon Day Mrs Marki Tihhonova-Kreek, Deputy Chief of Mission, laid the wreath at the Victims of Communism Memorial to commemorate all who have suffered under totalitarian regimes. Photo: Facebook / Estonian Embassy in Washington
Attending were members of JBANC, the Estonian American National Council, the diplomatic corps, community representatives, and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
August 23 marks the 76th-year anniversary of the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the secret protocol that divided Eastern Europe between Hitler and Stalin in 1939. As a result of this pact, millions of people were displaced, oppressed, or killed.
August 23 also marks the day in 1989 that over two million people from the Baltics formed a human chain called the “Baltic Way” to protest Soviet occupation. It spanned roughly 600 kilometers, or 372 miles, from Estonia to Lithuania. Two and a half months later, the Berlin Wall fell.
Today, the European Union, Canada, and the United States commemorate Black Ribbon Day to honor the millions of lives lost under these two totalitarian regimes. A House resolution sponsored by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) honoring the victims of Stalinism and National Socialism was passed on May 21, 2014.