Tom Hanks lends a hand to Eisenhower Memorial in Washington

Article Author: 
David Ng, LA Times
News Abstract: 
The long-delayed effort to create a national memorial for President Dwight D. Eisenhower is receiving a major boost in Hollywood star power.

Tom Hanks is joining the advisory committee for the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, a bipartisan body composed of members of Congress as well as some prominent private citizens.

The two-time Academy Award-winning actor previously lent support to the creation of the National World War II Memorial in Washington by serving as a spokesman for the fundraising campaign.

The Eisenhower Memorial, which features a design by Los Angeles architect Frank Gehry, has experienced numerous setbacks in recent years, including objections to the design by some members of the late president's family.

A revised design was approved by the Eisenhower Commission two years ago. In July, the National Capital Planning Commission voted 9 to 1 in favor of the project -- having initially rejected a previous iteration -- thus marking the final stage in the project's four-year road to federal approval.

But the memorial still faces challenges in terms of funding. With a price tag estimated at $142 million, organizers are expected to piece together money from federal and private sources. So far, Congress hasn't gotten around to approving funding for the project.

Eisenhower was an army general who served in World War II as Supreme Allied Commander before becoming the 34th president.

On screen, Hanks has demonstrated great interest in World War II and veteran affairs. He starred in "Saving Private Ryan" and produced HBO's miniseries "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific."

"I am pleased to join the effort to remember [Eisenhower], who went on to become one of our most prescient and wise of Presidents," said Hanks in a release on Monday.

He also thanked former Sen. Bob Dole and retired Gen. P.X. Kelley, who serve on the advisory committee.

Other members of the advisory committee include journalist Tom Brokaw and former Secretary of State George P. Shultz.

The Memorial Commission is currently chaired by Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, the state where Eisenhower grew up.

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News Date: 
Tuesday, September 15, 2015