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Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom

Dr. Lee Edwards


Dr. Lee Edwards first learned anti-communism at home. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Leila and Willard—a Chicago Tribune reporter—and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 made the victims of communism all too real. As a graduate student at the Sorbonne in Paris, Edwards witnessed Hungarian students—his own age—launch a revolution in the streets of Budapest that toppled the communist regime. As Soviet tanks crushed the Freedom Fighters, Edwards was appalled by the West’s lack of response and made a lifelong pledge to oppose communism.

Since then, Edwards has been a leader in the fight for freedom and against communism. He helped found Young Americans for Freedom in 1960 and was the first editor of YAF’s magazine, New Guard. He served as director of public information for Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign. He started or helped sustain key anti-communist organizations, such as the National Captive Nations Committee, the Committee for a Free China, and the American Council for World Freedom. Edwards is also the author or editor of over 25 books, including biographies of President Ronald Reagan, Senator Barry Goldwater, Dr. Walter Judd, and William F. Buckley, Jr.

Lee and Anne—his wife, best friend, editor, and senior counselor of over 55 years—have two daughters and eleven grandchildren. In 1990, while at Sunday brunch, the Edwards family resolved that an organization was needed to memorialize all the victims of communism around the world and to educate Americans about the atrocities of communism. Soon after, Edwards and Dr. Lev Dobriansky co-founded the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, which was authorized by a unanimous Act of Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on December 17, 1993. Years of commitment resulted in the Victims of Communism Memorial, which was erected on Capitol Hill and dedicated by President George W. Bush on June 12, 2007.

Today, Edwards continues to fight for freedom and against communism. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and Founding Chairman of the Victims of Communism Museum, which opens to the public on June 13, 2022. He also serves as Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought at the Heritage Foundation and is an adjunct professor of politics at the Catholic University of America.