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Black Ribbon Day commemorated August 23

August 23 marked the 75th anniversary of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which divided Europe and helped start the Second World War.  The first commemoration of Black Ribbon Day to be held in the U.S. Capitol took place on August 23, with the assistance of Congressman John Shimkus (R-Ill.), the Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC), and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

Congressman John Shimkus (R- Ill.), who was in attendance, was the sponsor of the bill designating Black Ribbon Day (H.R. 4435), which passed the House. If the Senate passes a matching bill, the United States will join more than a dozen countries in making August 23 the official "Black Ribbon Day."

Members of Congress, ambassadors, and human rights and ethnic group leaders laid a wreath in the Freedom Foyer of the U.S. Capitol.  Among these were the three Baltic ambassadors to the United States, including the newly arrived Estonian Ambassador Eerik Marmei; Tanel Sepp, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Estonia; Karl Altau, JBANC Managing Director, and Marju Rink-Abel, President, Estonian American National Council.

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