Eisenhower’s family seeks more traditional memorial
Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s family wants a memorial in the nation’s capital redesigned, saying Tuesday that the current plans overemphasize his humble Kansas roots and neglect his accomplishments in World War II and the White House.
Architect Frank Gehry proposed a memorial park framed by large metal tapestries with images of Eisenhower’s boyhood home in Abilene, Kan. In the park, a statue of Eisenhower as a boy would seem to marvel at what would become of his life: leading the Allied forces in World War II, integrating schools and the military, and creating NASA and interstate highways. Smaller sculptures would depict the man known as Ike as a general and a president.
Gehry’s idea echoed a speech Eisenhower gave when he returned to Kansas and spoke of a “barefoot boy” who achieved fame in Europe. He came home “to say (that) the proudest thing I can claim is that I am from Abilene.”
Anne Eisenhower, one of his granddaughters, sent a formal objection to the National Capital Planning Commission on Tuesday on behalf of the family.
“What one has to say is, he’s missed the message here,” she said. “The mandate is to honor Eisenhower, and that is not being done in this current design. Or, shall we say, it is being done in such a small scale in relation to the memorial that it is dwarfed.”