I have followed with interest for many years the struggle to successfully build the Eisenhower Memorial on the Washington Mall. Getting consensus on the design and raising the necessary money has had its ups and downs to say the least. Recently, there was clearly a positive step with the announcement of former Senator Bob Dole taking a strong and active leadership role in raising the money. Given his success with the WWII Memorial, this news I’m sure is welcomed by all who want to see this project become a reality. General Reddel, who has chaired this effort from the beginning, briefed me several times when I was the Archivist and since then has kept me advised while I’m here at K-State. The reason for the latter is the close proximity to the Eisenhower Library and his long-range plans to have the Memorial partner with a University on the planned educational aspect of the Memorial.
Dole’s leadership and active participation on the WWII Memorial did not stop with its construction. You may or may not be aware, but you should know that he greets every group of WWII veterans who are part of the effort to get them all to the Memorial before it is too late. On our recent flight to Albany, in the airport when we landed there, was another group lined up to board a flight to Washington, and this has been going on for years. Almost without exception, when we fly into Reagan National, there will be a group of Veterans landing from some part of the country, thanks to a lot of volunteer effort and private support.
For Eisenhower, Abilene was always his hometown. For Kansas, Ike will always be one of our most famous and influential citizens. Having his Presidential Library here with a link to the Memorial on the Mall and possibly Kansas State University would be huge. Senator Bob Dole just might, once again, make the difference—for which I thank him and wish him the very best on Veterans Day 2015.