By US Rep. Leonard Boswell
Architectural Firm Selected to Design the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial.
As a member of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission, I'd like to take this opportunity to inform you of some recent developments. On March 31st , the Commission selected Gehry Partners, LLP, the Los Angeles-based architectural firm headed by Frank Gehry, to be the lead designer of the national memorial to President Eisenhower, which will be built on a four-acre site at the base of Capitol Hill, across from the National Air & Space Museum. The Eisenhower memorial will be the first presidential memorial of the 21st century, and only the seventh in United States history the last one to be built was the FDR Memorial, which was built in 1997.
Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower, our 34th President, is a preeminent figure in global history whose contributions to international peace and economic progress make his memorialization long overdue. President Eisenhower served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces during World War II. He commanded the largest and most complex amphibious assault in world history on D-Day, June 6, 1944. His central role in achieving cooperation among allied nations and commanders made him one of the most respected international figures of his time.
As President, Eisenhower created the National Interstate Highway system, and passed the first two Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960. He forged an armistice that ended the Korean War, and created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. President Eisenhower also created what is now the Federal Aviation Administration to improve flying safety, and established the Department of Health Education and Welfare, (which later split into the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services).
Gehry Partners, LLP was one of four finalists in a three-stage competition that began with forty-four design firms from across the United States. The firms were evaluated based on previous work, interviews, and responses to the memorial's pre-design program, which addressed Eisenhower's extraordinary accomplishments and the physical parameters of the memorial site.
Frank Gehry's unique vision will be an exciting addition to our nation's capitol. Gehry builds structures that possess a dynamic energy and elegance that will complement and contrast with Washington architecture. Some of Gehry's best-known works include the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, the Wald Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and the Jay Pritsker Pavillion in Millennium Park in Chicago. I agree with Commission Chairman Rocco C. Siciliano, who said, "It's appropriate to have one of today's most outstanding architects design a memorial for one of our country's greatest leaders."
I would appreciate your thoughts on this or any other issue. As our nation continues to tackle the many challenges on its agenda, we should remember that, as President Eisenhower said in his 1949 commencement address to Columbia University, "There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence and energy of her citizens cannot cure." As always, please feel free to contact me in Des Moines at 515-282-1909, or toll-free at 1-888-432-1984. You can also reach me at my Washington, D.C. office at 202-225-3806.