From beginning to end — and even in its subheadline — John Fund’s article “Eisenhower Memorial Melee” offers National Review Online’s readers a confused jumble of unsubstantiated claims and erroneous or premature conclusions. In addition, Mr. Fund managed to leave out two highly critical and essential elements of the memorial’s history:
First, David Eisenhower, the only grandson of President Dwight David Eisenhower, represented the Eisenhower family as a commissioner on the Eisenhower Memorial Commission (EMC) for well over a decade and participated in both the selection of Frank Gehry and the memorial’s design concept.
Second, during its first several years, the EMC undertook a comprehensive and thoughtful review of the president and general’s legacy as it pertained to the broader context of American and global history. The goal of this effort was to ensure that the Eisenhower National Memorial would fully present Dwight David Eisenhower’s many contributions to our nation and the world, both in the era in which he lived and, more broadly, to civilization and mankind.
David Eisenhower also participated in this important foundational effort.
While Mr. Fund is most certainly allowed a personal opinion, it is regrettable that neither he nor National Review Online took the time to contact the Eisenhower Memorial Commission to verify the numerous errors that he presents to his readers as facts:
1. “Congress pulls the plug on Gehry’s design” and “the House andSenate have eliminated all funding for the memorial for the restof thisfiscal year.”
The Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the federal government for the balance of FY 2013 includes funding for the operations of the EMC. Funding was approved by both the House and Senate and was included in the final (conferenced) version of the legislation. It should be noted that the EMC did not, in fact, request construction funds for FY 13; rather, it requested and received operations funds.
2.Cost of the Eisenhower Memorialexceeds that of the combined cost of the memorials to Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and FDR.
Mr. Fund’s comparison is incorrect and inaccurate. The total construction cost of the four memorials he cited — Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and FDR — would be well over $350 million in current dollars.
3. Frank Gehry “replaced the ‘barefoot boy’ statue with one of Eisenhower as a West Pointcadet.”
There has never been a “barefoot boy” depicted in an iteration of the design for the Eisenhower National Memorial. The most recent iteration depicts him as a “youth” — not as a West Point cadet.