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In 2008, the panel decided to follow a federal government program for building projects and drew 44 submissions. Those proposals were narrowed to four finalists within about five months.

By 2009, Eisenhower’s grandson, David Eisenhower, a member of the commission from 2001 until December, had played a central role in selecting Gehry as the lead architect, according to the documents. David Eisenhower was the only person to serve on both the design jury and an evaluation board that recommended Gehry as the top choice to the full commission. When Gehry’s selection was approved, David Eisenhower praised the “integrity and excellence” of the selection process, according to the minutes.

Later when Gehry’s proposed tapestries were selected from three designs his firm offered the commission in 2010, he used an image of V-E Day as an example of what the tapestries might depict.

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts called it a “wonderful concept.” David Eisenhower said he liked the use of a V-E Day image and the freestanding columns that “seem to symbolize the upward emergence of the United States to world power in the mid-20th century,” according to the minutes.

David Eisenhower’s sister, Anne Eisenhower, also attended the meeting and praised Gehry’s design, but said the actual images chosen for the memorial would be important. The commission voted unanimously to support the design, according to meeting minutes.

At the commission’s latest meeting in July 2011, Gehry revealed he was considering a sculpture of Eisenhower as a boy and images on the tapestries depicting his home in Abilene, Kan., “bringing a representation of America’s heartland directly into the heart of the nation’s capital.” Roberts offered a motion to support Gehry’s concept, David Eisenhower seconded it, and it passed unanimously.

Afterward, however, Eisenhower’s granddaughters, Susan Eisenhower and Anne Eisenhower, began to voice opposition on behalf of their father, John Eisenhower. They said the design overemphasized Ike’s humble roots and neglected his accomplishments.

“We knew him better than anybody,” Susan Eisenhower told the AP. “I just don’t feel any part of him in this.”

On Tuesday, Anne Eisenhower said the family asked memorial planners for a “simple, humble” memorial as early as 2005. She said many details from the past meeting minutes are not accurate. She said her brother, David Eisenhower, never voted for Gehry as the architect.

David Eisenhower has declined to comment since he resigned from the commission in December.

A final vote approving Gehry’s design has not yet been taken. The memorial commission hopes to gain approval from a federal panel in April.

Others have echoed the family’s worries. The National Civic Art Society, a group committed to preserving traditional architecture, issued a report questioning the selection process that drew only 44 entries, when other memorials have drawn hundreds of submissions.

Gehry’s design for the memorial dishonors, mocks and desecrates Eisenhower,” wrote the group’s president, Justin Shubow, saying the design is “topsy-turvy in its proportions.”

Reddel said the discussion should be about how to capture Eisenhower’s legacy, but has veered off course.

“Somehow, we need to raise the level of this discussion,” he said. “People’s attention is being drawn to the memorialization of Ike, but it’s being unfortunately politicized by the nature of the discussion.”

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