LOSING DAD TWICE the Eisenhower Girls Go To Congress For Ike:

19 Mar

The Natural Resources Committee held a hearing revisiting the memorial planned in tribute to military hero and president, best known as Ike. Ann Eisenhower traveled from to New York for the hearing. Susan Eisenhower came from cross town. For both women, there wasn’t a question of their not being there for Ike. They are his daughters. To them he is Dad. To both, they are losing Dad, again. They shared Dad with the military. They shared Dad with the country. Dads papers are either with the military, or in the National Archive s or in libraries. Dads name is commercially used for pins, tshirts, greeting cards and such, none of which anyone profits from other than the manufacturers and the vendors- clearly not of profit to the families or America.  S

What Ann and Susan have left of Dad is their personal memories of a daughter kind.

 ‘Ikes Girls’ have gone to war to make sure the Dad they will share in permanency with the world, in the memorial still not built a decade plus millions of dollars later, is the Dad they knew him to be, not the man boggled down in a design monstrosity reflecting the designer, Frank Gehry, not Dad. Frank, if he knew Ann and Susan’s Dad, would have known to design modesty, humility and correctness reflecting the generation that went to battle ‘for God and Country.’ Gehry would have known Ike would have testified the men and the women serving beneath him be clothed, cared for and respected with the millions of dollars that has been spent on Gehry’s monument to nowhere.  Ike would have stood before his troops and people and called forth talents yet to be discovered, grateful for the opportunity to be of service, yet again, to their country, angered at a Commission exploiting America with debt. After all, how much can a pen and paper cost. Ike knew. It cost American blood to provide the freedom Frank Gehry and the Commission overseeing the Eisenhower Memorial are exploiting without transparency of process and lack of accountability of cost.

America is littered with monuments progress forgets. Generations move forward. History and education rarely catchup leaving great men and women behind. The brass plaque removed from the pillar marking where Johnny Witherspoons church stood on Connecticut Avenue is gone. The Preservation Leagues and Commissions didn’t care to track the plaque down to bring back. Awakening was moved around DC so many times it eventually moved to a beach in Maryland. Ask people where the markers are for Ground Zero DC. Faces go blank. And the WWI Memorial? It is the orphan child of DC Tourism. Trolleys, buses, guides don’t even know of it let alone where to start their looking even if they cared. These aren’t the Lincoln Memorial, the White House or the Capitol. The MLK is a lesson for children wanting to save Dad they lost to history- good and bad. The MLK doesn’t speak for the King family or for Martin’s faith.

America is a world impressed with titles of a celebrity kind. Gehry is a rock star in the design world, so much so that basic tenents of the Commissions and Associations overseeing this memorial have been swept aside for Frank.
Respecting one of the commissioners, a General, advocating to the gathered Congressmen of Gerry’s being “true” to Ike, fact is, as Susan Eisenhower eloquently pointed out, that Dad balanced the Americas budget, inflation and employment were in check. There was no reading between the lines, the simple man, simply reflected in Mayfair London in a simple statue nestled in a park outside the US Embassy is the grandeur of their Dad who defined a generation, not complex curtains that will endure repairs over time.

The fact is I understand the Eisenhower daughters. I get them. They lost a Dad. I lost a brother. We didn’t lose once. We lost twice. I understand the battle of knowing if you fight to protect your loved one in eternity, you lose dignity, you lose making your living and you lose you because in time, there are too many of ‘them’ and just not enough moments before you want to just crawl  up and cry. You would give anything to have them back, dignity back and private moments away from criticizing eyes.

Someone in the family opened the  Pandora box way back when. It is always the right time to say no or express regrets. Ike may be America’s president and the military’s leader but they are his daughters. They are family. The memorial will need to be funded through donations. True power remains with the family. Money will come to the memorial with the Eisenhower family on board. If the Eisenhowers don’t approve of the portrayal of their Dad the Commission wants generations to see Ike as then….

Ann and Susan can’t tell the world to back off Dad. The Eisenhowers are conceded to sharing the Ike that belongs to them- in design, in perpetuity. It is Ike in commercialism, Ike the Cash Cow being prepped to be yet another DC tourist site, it seems they prefer to shutter, if it isn’t the man they represent, in flesh and blood, on earth. I understand. The National Civic Arts Society posted to their website over 70 published pieces of people who think like the Eisenhowers www.civicarts.org .

 

I don’t think it is written anywhere that men and women who serve America lose their identity to street mongering and hustle and flow. That is the battle I have picked up in my brother’s memory, his name being used and abused for charitable fundraising- real and faux. They are our loved ones first and for most. Like Susan and Ann, I will share my brother’s legacy- when it is right. As family, I know when that is. If someone asks? We will ponder… It may take us a while to get back to you or not…if ever

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