- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Panel sticks with Gehry’s memorial to Ike
Eisenhower family sought new design
The commission handling the design and construction of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial on Wednesday largely ignored recent criticism of the memorial design, choosing instead to unanimously approve the plan despite concerns over cost and concept.
Speaking before a Russell Senate Office Building room crowded with supporters and design samples, memorial commission chairman Rocco Siciliano defended his board’s actions as well as the design of renowned contemporary architect Frank Gehry.
“No intent was made here to railroad or walk over outside opinions, especially the family’s,” Mr. Siciliano said, referencing the mounting criticism from Eisenhower’s relatives and the House committee tasked with overseeing the memorial. “The family deserves to be heard. The family does not deserve to be obeyed.”
Mr. Gehry unveiled modest design changes to the memorial, including a bas relief — a type of sculpture that is built into a wall of stone — along with freestanding figures on one block of the memorial. He also changed the statue of a childlike Eisenhower to a teenage version sitting casually along the memorial’s edge, looking out to his future accomplishments depicted in the park.
“It’s still very similar to the competition model in principle,” Mr. Gehry said.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Rep. Michael K. Simpson, Idaho Republican, read a letter from Susan and Anne Eisenhower, granddaughters of the World War II general and 34th president, which stated that the family “will not support the current Gehry design” and urged a new design competition.
The concern, Mr. Simpson related, was that mounting disagreement on the final design could stall the memorial and even derail it.
Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican, responded that while not everyone could agree on the design, “I also know we have to move forward.”
“I’m sorry we haven’t been able to accommodate a difference of opinions,” Mr. Roberts said. “Sometimes you can work things out, sometimes you can’t.”
Last week, the House Committee on Natural Resources, which is overseeing the memorial, approved legislation that would term-limit commission members to four years and offer a chance for new people to serve on the commission or for former members to serve again if they are chosen.
The memorial honoring the 34th president is planned for a 4-acre plot of land between the National Air and Space Museum and the U.S. Department of Education in Southwest. The design features a park area and stone panels engraved with portraits from Eisenhower’s military and political careers set off by 80-foot columns supporting woven metal tapestries depicting scenes from his Kansas upbringing.
Mr. Gehry explained that the design was meant to capture the arc of Eisenhower’s life, from his humble beginnings in Abilene, Kan. Eisenhower graduated from West Point and served in World War I before becoming the commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces during World War II. He was elected president of the United States and was in office from 1953 to 1961.
More than $60 million has been appropriated for the memorial since it was approved by Mr. Clinton in 1999, and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission has requested an additional $51 million for construction costs for its fiscal 2014 budget.
Rep. Rob Bishop, Utah Republican who sits on the Natural Resources Committee and drafted the bill, said his committee found “some very significant flaws” with the memorial commission’s process, notably the way in which the architect and design were chosen.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Meredith Somers is a Metro reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- Lenten season marks big business for seafood sector
- ACU at 50: Strong and looking ahead
- Ready for spring? D.C. cherry blossoms to bloom by mid-April
- MOVIE REVIEW: 'Son of God'
- Experts say immigrants are changing the U.S. religious landscape
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- CPAC 2014: Rand Paul urges conservatives to fight for liberty
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- EDITORIAL: Connecticut revolts against gun controls that could criminalize 300,000
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Protests in Russia against Putin's actions in Ukraine a shift in attitudes
- Russian lawmaker wants to outlaw U.S. dollar, calls it a Ponzi scheme
- Aronofsky's 'Noah' banned in Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again