After years of steadfast disapproval of the proposed design for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C., the Eisenhower family has finally voiced their support for the Frank Gehry designed park and monument – once a few more minor changes are made.
The 15-year-long process has already seen a multitude of design tweaks and revisions, but it appeared to have been decisively green-lit last summer following final approval by the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC). In the past year, however, the project has once again stalled, as the Eisenhower Memorial Commission has struggled to find private donors following the withdrawal of congressional funding for the project in 2013.
In finally receiving the family’s support, the commission likely hopes to garner renewed enthusiasm for the project from both private and public sources.
“While some of us may have had other preferences in the past, all of us support your proposal,” wrote Susan Eisenhower, the president’s granddaughter, in a letter to memorial advisory board member and former secretary of state James Baker. “We recognize that your recommendation offers a compromise, one which all Americans who loved the general and the president can support."
The newly requested modifications include changing the subject of the 8-story tall metal tapestry, the centerpiece of the project, from a scene from Eisenhower’s boyhood home of Abilene, Kansas to a representation of Normandy beaches in peacetime, to celebrate the D-Day invasion that Eisenhower oversaw during World War II. To compensate, the family has also requested a “renewed focus on Ike’s home state of Kansas,” with a new element to be located somewhere else in the park.
The commission stated that they will relay the comments to Gehry “to begin making the agreed upon modifications and move the project forward with dispatch.”