We’re approaching the 100th anniversary of the birthday of Ronald Reagan: February 6, 2011. My latest column for CNN.com makes the case for an appropriate national commemoration of this good man and great president.
To date, the main attempts to honor Reagan in the nation’s capital have gone askew. A government office building second in size only to the Pentagon? An airport from which Washingtonians cannot fly to California? These do not seem very appropriate monuments to a president who fought bureaucracy and yearned for home.
The other ideas that sometimes circulate in Congress seem equally misplaced: Placing Reagan on the currency or building a giant statue somewhere in Washington. More than most presidents, Reagan would have wanted to be remembered for his ideas, not his image. The right commemoration would honor those.
Let me suggest something: A museum in Washington dedicated to the victims of communism.
The struggle against communism impelled American foreign policy for almost half a century. That struggle was also the central concern of Ronald Reagan’s political life. As much as Reagan cared about the geopolitics of the struggle, he cared even more about the human victims of communism’s brutal totalitarian ideology.
The countries of Eastern Europe are now memorializing their terrible experiences under communism.
A particularly impressive museum has opened in Budapest, Hungary. But Eastern Europe did not suffer alone. Cambodia, China, Cuba, Ethiopia and Afghanistan also have their stories to tell.
A “Ronald Reagan Museum of the Victims of Communism” in Washington would ensure that these stories were kept alive and made vivid for future generations.