It's a scene that occurs 365 days a year, in stifling summer heat and cold wind of winter. Some visitors are in wheelchairs.  Others walk slowly, with canes or on the arm of a family member.  Most are accompanied by adult children or grandchildren-members of the next generations, who listen intently to stories of war and remembrance. 

Mr. Dole, who was severely injured by enemy fire in Italy during World War II, is using some new tactics, however. With lawmakers deadlocked on the memorial amid squabbles over its design, he is seeking to bypass Congress, where he served for 35 years, and build the project with private money.

Who better than former Sen. Bob Dole to spearhead fundraising for a memorial to honor another World War II hero, former President Dwight Eisenhower?

Dole announced last week that he would launch a campaign to raise $150 million — in private funds, if necessary — to complete the Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C. The design of the memorial has been a matter of controversy for more than 15 years and critics of the design have stalled efforts to obtain congressional approval of funding for the project.

[VIDEO] Click to watch the interview with Senator Bob Dole and Pat Roberts.

 

In the 1950s, everybody liked Ike. But 60 years later, a national memorial for President Dwight D. Eisenhower is in limbo, with funding withheld by Congress.

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.

“We look forward to his dynamic contributions to the effort to honor Ike,” said Senator Pat Roberts, the chairman of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, in a statement. “His body of work includes acting, directing, producing and writing numerous films focused on World War II, including: ‘Saving Private Ryan'; ‘The Pacific; Band of Brothers'; and ‘The War.'”

Mr. Hanks said in the statement: “I am pleased to join the effort to remember their leader who went on to become one of our most prescient and wise of Presidents.”

 The gift being announced Tuesday marks a critical phase for the Eisenhower Memorial after 15 years of planning. Organizers must determine whether they can raise the money needed to build the long-delayed monument. They hope to raise at least $20 million privately and build support in Congress for additional construction funding.

The National Capital Planning Commission on Thursday approved architect Frank Gehry’s plans for a memorial park to be built on a four-acre site along Independence Avenue between the National Air and Space Museum and the Education Department building. In June, the United States Commission of Fine Arts gave its critical, final approval.

All Washington monuments and memorials seem destined to pass through a barrage of fire from politicians and critics, with the focus usually on the architect’s design or the politics of the honoree. The one for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Eisenhower’s commander in chief, took 42 years from its first congressional approval to its opening in 1997.

National Eisenhower Memorial Receives Million Dollar Donation From The Republic Of China(Taiwan)

MEDIA CONTACT:  

Chris Cimko

chris@chriscimko.com

202-277-7345

 

 

WASHINGTON, JULY 14, 2015: U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chairman of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission confirmed today that the National Eisenhower Memorial has received a pledge for a donation in the amount of $1 million from the Republic of China (Taiwan).

 

CFA Briefed on Eisenhower Memorial Design Elements and Materials

 

U.S. COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS BRIEFED ON

EISENHOWER NATIONAL MEMORIAL DESIGN ELEMENTS

AND MATERIALS

 

 

November 20, 1024

 

Contact:

Chris Kelley Cimko

Building a national memorial is complicated, requiring focus, tenacity and patience. The process is lengthy, exacting and frustrating. Layers of approvals can take years, and include a diverse cast of characters. Design and other review panels must be satisfied. Government contracting regulations and the Commemorative Works Act must be followed.

Members of the panel — one of two government agencies that must approve the memorial plan before construction can begin — described the edited version of Gehry’s design as a “stronger project” and a “substantial improvement” over the previous scheme, which the CFA had previously accepted.

 

While no members of Congress attended the downtown Washington meeting, Capitol Hill’s influence was apparent.

 The federal agency that oversees planning for the nation's capital approved the preliminary building plans for the memorial project Thursday. The National Capital Planning Commission debated the design and voted 10-1 to approve the concept.

Gehry revised his design for a memorial park in September. He removed two large, steel tapestries on the sides of the park and left one as a backdrop depicting the Kansas landscape of Eisenhower's Midwestern roots. Sculptures in the park would depict Eisenhower as president and general.

The 10-to-1 vote by the National Capital Planning Commission represented a significant milestone for the tribute to the World War II general and 34th president, which has been stalled since 2011.

 

The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts reviewed Gehry's plans for stone or bronze statues of the 34th president, and members voted 3-1 to approve the major elements. One commissioner voted no, saying the memorial's landscape design needed to be further developed.

The design has drawn criticism from Eisenhower's family and others for its departure from more classical monument architecture and for the large scale of some elements.

 

Thursday's meeting allowed the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts to get a close-up look at changes to the design, which the commission last voted on in 2011.

 

The national tribute to the 34th president and the supreme commander of the Allied forces in World War II is long overdue, considering it was authorized by Congress 14 years and two presidents ago.

Commissioners:

Thank you for inviting me to be here today.

President Eisenhower said, “I come from the very heart of America”, and it is a sentiment he expressed often. 

He did not come from great beginnings, yet he became a great general and a great President.

He was born in a modest frame house, yet he became one of the most revered occupants of the White House

He's recruiting a bipartisan contingent in the House and Senate in a bid to break the design deadlock and start construction of the memorial to the man who departed Abilene to become supreme allied commander during World War II and 34th president of the United States.

"It's a highly deserved memorial," said Roberts, a member of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission's executive board. "It fits Eisenhower's life and what he would have wanted. We're down to crunch time."

 

Retired Brig. Gen. Carl Reddel, executive director of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, also acknowledged the road has been rocky at times for the embattled monument plans. But, he said, “Ike” deserves proper recognition for his achievements, and soon.

“It’s about time we do this,” Reddel said during the 2013 Dole Lecture at the Dole Institute of Politics on Thursday. Dole Institute Director Bill Lacy interviewed him about Eisenhower and the effort to memorialize him.