DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER MEMORIAL; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 173

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Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office
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Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. President, on Wednesday, October 14, 2020, we celebrate the 130th birthday of America's 34th President and Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe during World War II, Dwight David Eisenhower.

Without Ike, it is not a stretch to imagine that the trajectory of American history might have been significantly altered. It was General Eisenhower who commanded a successful D-Day invasion, which became a pivotal turning point in the Second World War. It was President Eisenhower who waged peace, regulated atomic power, and protected the world against the growing spread of communism. Through it all, it was not selfish ambition or prestige that guided him, but rather his character and sense of duty.

He was born in Denison, TX, on October 14, 1890, as the third of seven sons. At the age of 2, Ike's family moved to Abilene, KS, a lively community with a famous frontier past where he developed his interest in exploring the outdoors. Throughout his lifetime of leadership, Ike never lost touch with his western origins. As Kansas' favorite son, Ike nurtured the values he learned as a young boy, some of which guided his decision-making as a leader. He placed the job and the mission--not himself--at the center. With this heartfelt ethic, he set the example for those around him.

From Abilene to West Point and from Normandy to Washington, Eisenhower embodied the humility, honesty, sincerity, optimism, and fortitude that he would call upon the country to emulate in his first inaugural address on January 20, 1953: ``The productivity of our heads, our hands, and our hearts is the source of all the strength we can command, for both the enrichment of our lives and the winning of peace,'' he declared. ``Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America.''

As Americans, we owe a great deal to the man who led the U.S. and Allied Forces in the liberation of Europe and expelled the evil of Hitler's Nazism. On the domestic front, we are transformed by the fruit of his legacy as President, including: the Interstate Highway System, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare--now known as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education--and the Federal Aviation Administration. Ike also brought Alaska and Hawaii into the Union; eradicated segregation in our Armed Forces; and deployed the Army's 101st Airborne to Central High School in Little Rock, AR, ensuring that the law of educational integration was followed by all States.

As chairman of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission, I am proud to report that construction on the national memorial of President and General Eisenhower, located on Independence Avenue, SW, between 4th and 6th Streets, is complete, and the memorial is open to the public. The commission hosted a dedication ceremony at the site the evening of September 17, 2020. Participants in the ceremony included my fellow commissioners, including vice chairman Representative Mike Thompson of California, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Senator Gary Peters of Michigan, Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Representative Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., of Georgia, Representative Michael K. Simpson of Idaho, Representative William M. ``Mac'' Thornberry of Texas, former Senator Robert J. ``Bob'' Dole of Kansas, Alfred Geduldig, Susan Banes Harris, and Catherine Ann Stevens.

Again, with General Eisenhower as they were on the eve of the D-Day invasion, soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division presented the colors. Speakers included me, Bret Bair, Senate Chaplain Barry Black, Representative Mike Thompson, Architect Frank Gehry, Ms. Rachel Mast of Kansas who recited the Pledge of Allegiance, Astronaut Chris Cassidy from the International Space Station, Secretary Condoleezza Rice, Greta Van Susteren who introduced Senator Bob Dole, David Eisenhower, Susan Eisenhower, and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. Other Eisenhower family members present at the ceremony included Julie Nixon Eisenhower, their son Alex and his children, Mary Jean Eisenhower's son Merrill Eisenhower Atwater, and several members of the Gill family, relatives of Mamie Doud Eisenhower.

Enjoyed by all were musical performances by the ``The President's Own'' U.S. Marine Band, and Voices of Service performers Master Sgt. Caleb Green, Staff Sgt. Ron Henry (Ret.), Sgt. Maj. Christal Rheams, and Sgt. 1st Class Jason Hanna. Guests at the ceremony and others joining via livestream and CSPAN were thrilled to experience a flyover of F-16s piloted by soldiers of the 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard. The flyover occurred precisely at the end of the National Anthem performed by Voices of Service. Additionally, 26 members of the West Point Alumni Glee Club delighted guests with superb renditions of several songs, including ``Grand Old Flag,'' ``World War II Medley,'' and ``God Bless the USA.''

September's dedication ceremony was a fitting tribute to one of our country's finest leaders. The memorial is now one of the 420 National Memorials and Parks under the stewardship of the National Park Service. I invite all to visit the new Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial.

I ask my fellow Senators and all citizens to join me in celebrating America's 34th President and Supreme Commander during World War II by wishing Ike a happy 130th birthday.

News Date: 
Wednesday, October 14, 2020