Flag Day and Roll Call

VOC’s President and CEO, Dr. Eric Patterson, writes for Providence Magazine on the importance of celebrating Flag Day and simultaneously remembering those around the world who are not free.

As Dr. Patterson writes, “On June 14, Washington, D.C. will host the annual Roll Call of Nations wreath-laying ceremony, commemorating those people – past and present – who have been the victims of totalitarian oppression. It is fitting that we honor such dissidents, activists, survivors, and victims on a day that every American school child knows as Flag Day.

The Second Continental Congress adopted the basic design of the American flag on June 14, 1777.  After the Civil War, Americans have honored this powerful and unifying symbol of hope in a variety of ways.  President Woodrow Wilson further established the day with an executive order during the first World War; Congress enshrined Flag Day in law just after World War II.

Our flag’s colors stand for valor (red), purity (white), and vigilance (blue). The colored bands recall the original thirteen colonies and the white stars honor the fifty states that make up today’s Union.  The Stars and Stripes is the globally recognized emblem of the most enduring and influential modern democracy, and a symbol of hope and freedom to billions of people.

At the June 14 Roll Call of Nations, ambassadors from former communist countries will lay wreaths at the Congressionally-authorized Victims of Communism Memorial (not far from Union Station).  They will be joined by representatives of those still held captive by tyrannical regimes: Venezuelans, Cubans, Nicaraguans, Vietnamese, Hmong, Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, Chinese, Belarussians, and many others.  Sadly, the list goes on and on.

The tally of communist crimes is grotesque.  Communist regimes are responsible for at least 100 million murdered people during the twentieth century, with the Soviet Union and China leading the count.  Even more tragic is the fact that at least 1.5 billion people still live under communist rule in North Korea, China, Vietnam, Cuba, and elsewhere.

Read the full article in Providence Magazine.

Dr. Eric Patterson is President and CEO of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.