WASHINGTON (KSNT) – After more than two decades of planning, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial will be dedicated in Washington D.C. during a ceremony Thursday night.
The memorial now adds Eisenhower to an elite group of former presidents honored in the nation’s capital.
The Eisenhower Memorial is a four-acre park next to the National Mall and a short walk from the World War II Memorial. It features bronze statues of Eisenhower throughout life, starting with his time as a boy in Abilene, Kansas and through WWII and his time as the 34th President.
Congress commissioned the Eisenhower Memorial in 1999, only two years into the Senate career of Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas). Twenty-one years later, Roberts is pleased to see the memorial dedicated before he retires later this year.
“My hope is the memorial makes people more aware of Eisenhower’s accomplishments,” Roberts said. “I hope it inspires a dialogue about what qualities and constitutes a great leader and reflection on where we would be as a nation or world without his vision.”
Roberts has a special connection with this project. The 84-year-old senator said he met Eisenhower when he was a teenager during the 1952 Republican Convention.
“He had a very ready complexion and a wonderful, just brilliant smile,” Roberts said. “You knew he was in the room, even though your back was to him. He had that kind of charisma. He walked right up to me and said young man how are you today. I said just fine sir.”
The future senator got to see Eisenhower again during his first inauguration.
Roberts said he had no idea then that he would have the ability to help honor him in this way.
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial will be dedicated during a ceremony at 6:00 p.m. Thursday night.
The ceremony will also be live streamed on the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission Facebook Page.