Next Steps on the Eisenhower Memorial

The news media has been full of the testimony from Tuesday’s hearing on “The Proposed Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial” before the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.

As a family, we were most gratified that we were able to participate in an open and frank exchange of views about the concept, design and feasibility of the proposed Eisenhower Memorial plan. I attach my full testimony and a link to the C-Span coverage of Tuesday’s hearing.

Since then, many people have asked us “what’s next?” While there is considerable speculation about whether or not we will be meeting again with Mr. Frank Gehry and Gehry Partners, this is actually the responsibility of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission and its staff. Mr. Gehry’s client is the Eisenhower Memorial Commission (EMC) – not the Eisenhower family. We have offered our opinions and stated our concerns in a most forthright manner, not only to EMC Commissioners and staff but also to Congress and the various approval authorities. We met with Mr. Gehry in December 2011 and briefed him then on our views. The next steps are now up to them. We, of course, will remain available to them should a new design be forthcoming or if they decide to take a new track all together. From what we have heard, the EMC appears to favor going forward with its current plans.

We wish to take this opportunity to reiterate our respect and appreciation for Mr. Gehry’s hard work and the commitment he has brought to his task. We have always known that it has been his intention to design a fitting memorial to Dwight Eisenhower and one that is acceptable to our family. He has been gracious throughout this process and open to our input. It is now up to the Eisenhower Memorial Commission to determine how to proceed.

4 thoughts on “Next Steps on the Eisenhower Memorial

  1. I am a lifelong Kansan and was ten years old when President Eisenhower flew in to the Wichita airport and was greeted with cheering lines all along the road – school was let out for that special day. His smile was infectious – his character was wonderful, and his Museum and Library in Abilene, which I visited in the early 1960’s and again this year, project his immense stature as a statesman. The simple bronze statue of the General in unform that stands in the middle of the grounds halfway between the library and the museum is a fitting memorial to this man who was a strong and proud patriot but a modest and reserved Kansan as well. His leadership as Supreme Allied Commander during WWII may be better known than his staunch support for integration in Little Rock, but in any case, this man was a giant. Professors during my time in college were almost afraid to mention Ike – because they knew of his greatness and they were mostly Democrats. This memorial should not be a tribute to Frank Gehry, but to Dwight David Eisenhower.

  2. Ms Eisenhower,

    I am an urban planner and nationally credentialed grant writer by profession and wanted to write to you about your testimony and the status of your Granddad’s monument in DC.

    I personally love the monuments in Washington. Each was born out of controversy of its day and your grandfather’s memorial is no different. I think that you will believe that everyone wants to appropriately honor your grandfather. That being said — I believe that the artist proposal by Gehry is just so off base I cant even list my comments of how much he “missed the mark” overall on this project.

    I am not an artist but I know what inspires and moves me. I am a student of history and the history channel and all their shows on WWII and your grandfather. What strikes me is the MESH work. Its just UGLY. Why should an ARCHITECT do this project? Architects look at the SITE and how it is going to gratify themselves. PLANNERS look at the site and how its going to intertwine within the built world and how much its going to move and inspire those who visit and learn from its construction.

    The Vietnam memorial is so powerful and its understated.
    Your commentary at the hearing last week was so true. The MESH looks like HOLOCAUST CAMPS and it too tall – 8 stories? its out of scale with the built environment.

    The old addage of the description of a camel is a HORSE DESIGNED BY COMMITTEE is probably true at this point. Why not open it up to the common man?

    My suggestion knowing of your granddad from my dad who was a WWII vet is that he was one of the LAST HERO’s with 5 large stars. Therefore —- I would construct a walk with 5 GIANT STARS — standing and then imposed on the ground with a shadow of those in history who stood to make a difference. I would celebrate Eisenhouser’s career and contributions but I would also cite the other amazing 5 star generals who contributed to our national fabric even in mention or passing. It could be very powerful.

    What the heck is the purpose of showing trees and a farm? It is WORSE than a billboard and your granddad by his own admission hated billboards. And this would be a construction of a billboard of mesh madness which I think he would BOMB if he could from a B-52 bomber.

    Keep up the good work and keeping your finger on the pulse of the community and its need to honor your granddad. its not just an honor for him its an honor for those who all served and believed in his vision of America and keeping us safe through the cold war and through his leadership he guided us through the darkest times in America to emerge into the great nation that we enjoy today.

    Thank you from one who does watch the process with interest!

    Deborah S. Golden-Gestner, GPC
    Palmetto, Florida

  3. Why does the design of the monument DIMINISH President Eisenhower’s ADULT life as
    A WWII general and 2 term President?

  4. I believe your comments about the memorial are true. Start over. This is a terrible design taken over by a minority of modern architects. It is an insult to the hero, Dwight D. Eisenhower.
    What would have happened if they had displayed Ronald Reagan in this way. There would have been howls from those who considered him a hero.
    Eisenhower deserves the honor and recognition of the Supreme Commander during WW II
    ans President of the United States for 2 terms. Give him the honor he deserves.

    Edith Kaufman

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