The 53rd annual Captive Nations Dinner of the American Nationalities Movement was held in Wal-Tam's Grand Ballroom in Garfield Heights on July 17, 2014. Over 250 people attended the event to see the Freedom Awards be presented and a keynote address by US Senator Rob Portman.
Many in the audience have roots in countries that have been or are under increased tensions from Russia and other powers.
Judge Ralph (Rocky) Perk Jr. is president of the American Nationalities Movement of Ohio.
Judge Ralph (Rocky) Perk Jr.
He welcomed the crowd to the 53rd Captive Nations Dinner and reminded them that as they gathered to commemorate the freedom of the Captive Nations from the Iron Curtain, they should be wary because of how easy it is for freedom to be lost in a generation or less.
The 53rd Annual Captive Nations Dinner was held during Captive Nations Week which was signed into law in 1959 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Every successive U.S. President has declared the third week of July to be Captive Nations Week to raise public awareness of the oppression of nations under the control of Communist and other non-democratic governments.
There were three recipients of the Freedom Award: Katalin Gulden, Francis Rutkowski and Senator Rob Portman.
Judge Perk, Senator Rob Portman, Katalin Gulden, Irene Morrow,
Francis Rutkowski and Councilman Mike Polensek
Katalin Gulden receiving the Freedom Award - photos and video
Francis Rutkowski receiving the Freedom Award - photos and video
Judge Ralph Perk Jr. presented US Senator Rob Portman with the Freedom Award.
Irene Morrow, former president of the American Nationalities Movement of Ohio, introduced US Senator Rob Portman as the keynote speaker. Irene Morrow spoke of the Senator's love for America and hard work on behalf of the US and its allies including Ukraine. She called Senator Portman "our Go To person in Ohio."
Senator Portman began his remarks by noting the city of Cleveland's recent success with Johnny Manziel, LeBron James and hosting the Republican National Convention. He said that it is Hot in Cleveland and that the swagger is back and Cleveland is back.
Senator Portman said that while the American Nationalities Movement was founded in 1959 and the Soviet Union fell, its work is not done and will never be done. Current troubles in Ukraine and elsewhere are examples of this.
Senator Portman spoke about foreign policy and America's role in the world. He said America should be like the sheriff and lead a posse, not just be the policeman. Red lines must be drawn very thoughtfully but once drawn we must stand by them.
Senator Rob Portman speaking
Senator Portman said "We need to take sides. We need to be with the Ukrainian people." Senator Portman presented a calendar he purchased on his recent trip to Ukraine that was signed by both he and the Ukrainian Ambassador, to the Ukrainian Museum and Archives. Leaders of the Ukrainian community thanked Senator Portman for his help with the situation and said that people in Ukraine know him.
Enjoy these other images from the 53rd annual Captive Nations Dinner.
Senator Rob Portman and Debbie Hanson
Alex and Carol Machaskee
Father John Loejos
Francis Rutkowski group
Irene Morrow group
Margaret Wong and Senator Rob Portman
Renate and David Jakupca
Lucy Stickan with Maria and John Megyimori
with Councilman Mike Polensek
Aavo and Erika Puussaar
Judge Rocky Perk and Senator Rob Portman
Mary and Pierre Bejjani
with Mara Kisis
Vik Stankus and
Vlad Rus and Joe Wendell
Judges and Senator Portman
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