About the Eisenhower Memorial

FAQ

Why honor President Eisenhower with a Memorial?

Congress approved the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Memorial in 1999 with the passage of Public Law 106-79, signed into law by President Clinton. The Eisenhower Memorial Commission is entrusted with the task of building an enduring 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. Eisenhower understood war as only a soldier could and believed the possibility of a nuclear or thermonuclear, World War III, 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.  Eisenhower’s prescience and his strategic understanding of science and technology in establishing the United States as a pre-eminent world power was essential to securing freedom for generations of Americans to come. Eisenhower 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 Eisenhower, 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.  His 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.With the 60th Anniversary of his election to President and the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II, it is fitting to celebrate Eisenhower´s numerous accomplishments as a General, President, and world citizen. 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. 

Who serves on the Commission?

The bipartisan commission consists of twelve members: four members appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate; four members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and four members appointed by the President of the United States: 

  • Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman (R-KS)
  • Representative Mike Thompson, Vice Chairman (D-CA)
  • Senator Joe Manchin III (D-WV)
  • Senator Gary C. Peters (D-MI)
  • Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
  • Representative Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA)
  • Representative Michael K. Simpson (R-ID)
  • Representative William M. "Mac" Thornberry (R-TX)
  • Senator Robert J. Dole
  • Alfred Geduldig
  • Susan Banes Harris
  • Catherine Ann Stevens

The Eisenhower Memorial Commission also has advisory committees consisting of distinguished Americans. (To view the full listing, click here.)  Until December, 2011, David Eisenhower, the President’s grandson, served as a Commissioner for ten years. 

Who is the primary audience for the Memorial?

According to the National Park Service, the largest demographic group of visitors to Presidential memorials are K-12 students. The Eisenhower Memorial Commission will target educational messaging appropriate for these age groups both through the E-Memorial - a mobile device experience and complementary website. Other anticipated visitors include tourists and tour groups visiting museums along the National Mall, veterans, college students, academics, and local residents.  Because the memorial will be placed in an attractive urban park setting where residents and workers in the District of Columbia will enjoy and use this new green space.

What elements make up the Memorial?

Statuary:  Three physical representations of Eisenhower exist in the memorial, including two heroic-size sculptural elements, one of President Eisenhower and one of General Eisenhower.  General Eisenhower will be portrayed as Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force meeting with his troops before D-Day. Directly across from the statue of the general will be a statue of Eisenhower the President. Excerpts from some of his most memorable and significant speeches will be inscribed prominently on the memorial.  At the northwest entry plaza, a life-size sculpture of Eisenhower as a young man depicts the trajectory of his life as the quintessential American story. Inscribed in stone nearby is an excerpt from Eisenhower's Abilene Homecoming Speech on June 22, 1945

 

Tapestry: Framing the entire memorial within its complex urban context, an innovative, transparent stainless-steel woven tapestry portrays an abstract artistic depiction of the cliffs of the Normandy coastline in peacetime to represent the peace Eisenhower won as Supreme Commander and preserved as Commander in Chief. Made of woven stainless steel cable the tapestry will change dramatically throughout the day and night, as natural and artificial lighting play upon the metal image.   

 

The E-Memorial:  This memorial will be the first national presidential memorial to incorporate an electronic companion E-Memorial, which will serve as a fully integrated, interactive tool to bring Eisenhower’s dynamic and diverse legacy to visitors. The E-Memorial will use wireless technology and personal mobile devices to provide interactive enhancement throughout the site and expanded interpretation of the Eisenhower’s accomplishments. The E-Memorial will feature a mobile-device experience and companion website, which will provide a technologically advanced way to engage visitors of all ages in the Eisenhower story, demonstrating why his memory and legacy require memorialization.  (Click here to learn more.)

 

Information Station:  In addition, there will be a small structure on the perimeter of Eisenhower Square that will house a National Park Service Ranger Contact Station, a bookstore, and public restrooms. The memorial site will be accessible to disabled visitors.

Who is the designer of the Eisenhower Memorial?

Frank Gehry, the world´s most celebrated architect, was selected to design the Eisenhower National Memorial.  An internationally recognized and highly respected architect, Vanity Fair magazine declared Mr. Gehry “the most important architect of our age.”  

 

Mr. Gehry has built an architectural career spanning five decades and produced dozens of acclaimed buildings across the globe.  His work has earned numerous significant awards in the architectural field, including: The Pritzker Prize, the National Medal of Arts, the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal, and the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal. Mr. Gehry’s designs include the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California. 

 

For more information about Frank Gehry, please visit www.foga.com.

How was Frank Gehry selected to design the Eisenhower Memorial?

Mr. Gehry was one of four finalists in a competitive process  managed by GSA under the guidelines of the General Services Administration Design Excellence Program.  The process consisted of three stages.  A notice was published in FedBizOpps announcing the opportunity for any designer with an existing portfolio to compete for the project.  Submissions were received from forty-four qualified design firms in 2008. Evaluation factors included previous work, ability to work within the constraints of an urban site, interviews, and responses to the memorial´s pre-design program. That program addressed Eisenhower´s accomplishments as well as the physical parameters of the memorial site. Mr. Gehry´s creativity, ingenuity and inventiveness demonstrated his understanding of Eisenhower as a General, President, and world citizen. An independent panel of reviewers, including Commissioner David Eisenhower, reviewed the presentations by the final four designers and recommended Frank Gehry.  The Eisenhower Commission unanimously accepted their recommendation. 

Where will the Memorial be located?

The unique design of the Eisenhower National Memorial will be set within a four-acre urban park situated on Independence Avenue, SW, directly across from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and adjacent to the Department of Education to be known as Eisenhower Square, the urban park will serve as a gathering place for memorial visitors and special events.

You can see the site plan here

How was the site selected?

The site was selected in 2005 after review of 26 potential sites in Washington, DC. In September 2006, both the National Capital Planning Commission and the Commission of Fine Arts approved the site. Congress approved the site in 2005, followed by the President’s approval in 2006. 

Why is the site appropriate for the Eisenhower National Memorial?

The four-acre site designated for the memorial sits at the base of Capitol Hill, surrounded by federal agencies and institutions directly related to Eisenhower’s legacy, including: the U.S. Department of Education; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the Federal Aviation Administration; NASA as represented by the National Air and Space Museum, directly across Independence Avenue, and the studios of Voice of America. The memorial will integrate its urban surroundings and create a promenade in front of the Department of Education that will provide a unique and meaningful new space for interaction with the public. 

When will the memorial be completed?

Construction of the memorial began in December 2017 following a November groundbreaking ceremony. The Memorial is slated for dedication on September 17, 2020.

Will the memorial be open year round?

Visitors will be welcome to the Eisenhower National Memorial 365 days of the year. The memorial will be easily accessed via the Washington METRO and other public transportation. The Memorial site is one block south of the National Mall, and is within easy walking distance from other historical sites and museums, such as the Smithsonian Museums and the United States Capitol.

 

Visitors to the Memorial will receive information from a National Park Service ranger stationed at the memorial as well as unique on-site electronics enhancements known as the E-Memorial. The Memorial website will provide both a compelling pre-visit experience and additional information about the Eisenhower legacy. 

How can I become part of the Memorial effort?

The memorial will be a public/private effort.  The Commission has received full federal funding through the design period and will use both public and private funding through the construction period.  To dedicate the Memorial in 2019 – the 75th anniversary of D-day – the Eisenhower Memorial Commission has begun to raise $35 million from generous individuals, foundations and corporations for the construction of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Memorial.  This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in a presidential memorial.  Together, we will preserve President Eisenhower’s commitment to democracy, freedom and human dignity.  (Click here to learn more.)

 

Checks payable to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission may be mailed to:

 

1629 K Street, NW, Suite 801

Washington, DC  20006

Attention:  Joyce Jacobson

 

For additional information or questions, please contact:

Joyce Jacobson; jjacobson@eisenhowermemorial.gov

Where can I find more information about the Eisenhower National Memorial?

Visit eisenhowermemorial.gov, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @IStillLikeIke, or call (202) 296-0004.