Dwight David Eisenhower National Memorial

(Frank) We’re back again. You know, we were the 34th State, and we also have the 34th president. Isn’t that interesting? (Deb) That’s a cool fact, Frank. Did you vote for him? (Frank) Well, I wasn’t quite old enough yet [laughs]. Believe it or not…anyway. [Laughter] (Frank) But no, I was not old enough yet to vote for him, I was old enough to vote for his successor. (Deb) Cool, yes. (Frank) Anyway, we’re talking about Dwight David Eisenhower, who of course had a brilliant military career, and then became the President of the United States. He grew up in Kansas. (Deb) He often talked about Abilene and how much it meant to him, and how much it meant to come from such a place. I can remember going out there; maybe we were on the first times I was in Abilene. I’m just looking down the tracks and thinking, “This is a good place for a general, or somebody with that kind of responsibility to be from.” Because that’s a wonderful, quiet place you can go back to when your mind – when seems like everything is just craziness all around you. Ike is one of only a couple of people when he was president; it was like a step down from where he’d been [Laughs] as the Supreme Allied Commander. (Frank) Yes, he and Mamie actually met at – it was at the University in Lecompton. (Deb) No, that was his mother and daddy. (Frank) Well. (Deb) Nice try. [Laughter] (Frank) You mean I actually missed that? (Deb) Almost Frank, almost. (Frank) – a non-Kansan has to tell me… I do have a good story though about the Eisenhower Memorial. (Deb) That’s a great story. (Frank) Let’s go to it. Congress approved the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Memorial in 1999. Since then, folks from Tom Hanks to Tom Brokaw have contributed to the memorial, honoring Dwight D. Eisenhower as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II and the 34th President of the United States. Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran serve on the bi-partisan committee overseeing the project and Senator Roberts is chair. Why a memorial to Ike? Well, the committee has a lengthy list of reasons. First, Ike understood war as only a soldier could and believed the possibility of World War III, a nuclear war, would be unwinnable for mankind. He set in place a strategy for winning the Cold War that was followed and implemented by future Presidents until the collapse of the Soviet Union. He was influential in bringing World War II to an end and his efforts throughout the War, especially with the planning and execution of D-Day, stopped the Nazi war machine. He also ended the Korean War and maintained active communications with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. This Memorial will not only tell the story of the young man from Kansas who became a great soldier, a U.S. President, and a world leader, but will also reflect the story of America – humble, isolated beginnings, and a rapid ascension on the world stage. Ike’s example is an inspiration that, through leadership, cooperation, and public service, we too can achieve the American dream and make a difference in the world. Eisenhower, like America, rose to the occasion with courage and integrity. Dwight D. Eisenhower´s dedicated service to his country spanned 50 years. It is appropriate that the first national presidential memorial of the 21st century will honor President Eisenhower. If there was ever a moment in our nation’s history to recognize a leader committed to both security and peace for the good of his nation and the world, now is that time. Designer Frank Gehry incorporated elements of Ike’s roots in Abilene in the extensive memorial. “He represents what we should all try to be,” said the artist. Visit the website for more information.
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