Eisenhower Memorial Dedicated
WASHINGTON – A long-awaited memorial honoring president and World War II commanding general Dwight D. Eisenhower was dedicated Thursday night and is open to the public as of Friday.
The new garden memorial was originally slated to open on May 8, the 75th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe, but was delayed by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Even with the delay, the dedication, hosted by Fox News anchor Bret Baier, had to be scaled back in acknowledgement of ongoing requirements for mask wearing and social distancing.
While Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, of Kansas, delivered an address in a soft rain Thursday evening honoring the former president, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s comments were pre-recorded for the event.
There were also performances and appearances by the 101st Airborne Honor Guard, “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band and Voices of Service.
Invited guests included President Donald Trump, current and former members of Congress, cabinet members and the Eisenhower family.
Appearing on C-SPAN Thursday morning, Sen. Roberts, chairman of the Eisenhower Memorial Committee, described the monument’s location, on Independence Avenue, directly across from the Air and Space Museum, as “a beautiful site.”
Reflecting on Eisenhower the man, Roberts said the president was “unique in that he was the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, defeating Nazi Germany, and then he went on to be president, bringing us 8 years of peace and prosperity.”
“I think most historians look at a crisis that happens in an administration and they talk about that a lot, but he prevented the crisis and, as he said, the proudest thing he could say was that no American man or woman in uniform lost their life during his 8 year presidency.”
Roberts added: “He waged war and then he waged peace to bring America to the world stage.”
As Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in World War II, Eisenhower led the invasion of Normandy, a turning point in the war.
In his two terms as 34th president of the United States, Eisenhower is credited with spurring advances in education, transportation and exploration.
Architect Frank Gehry’s $150 million tribute to Eisenhower features three bronze sculptures by Sergey Eylanbekov depicting the former president at different points in his life, starting with his boyhood in Kansas.
Another notable feature is a stainless steel woven tapestry framing the memorial by artist Tomas Osinski, which depicts the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc on the Normandy coastline in peacetime.
There are also stone bas-relief images and inscription panels with words from throughout Eisenhower’s career.
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