Bob Dole has a new project. Long a champion of this country's veterans, his own withered arm says more about his wartime service and sacrifice than any statue could. Now he's leading a peacetime campaign to get the long-planned Eisenhower Memorial in Washington finished while he and other members of his generation are still around to attend the dedication.
The problem is that the memorial's design is still more about its world-famous designer (Frank Gehry) than its subject. Even if a couple of statues, one of Eisenhower the general and the other of Eisenhower the statesman-president, have been added. Much as a couple of statues were added to the graceful Vietnam Memorial--just enough to mar its simple, sloping lines.
What do you think General and President Eisenhower would do? Wait till plans for his memorial mature, or do a hurry-up job memorial to meet an arbitrary deadline? It's impossible to know. Ike is far beyond such concerns now.
But we do know what the man did. He spent years putting together the grand coalition that liberated Europe, paying close attention to every detail, rather than speed up the invasion of Normandy. Till the day before the planned invasion, he was postponing it till the weather was right. And as president, he was a frugal chief executive who preferred balanced budgets to flashy effects.
We also know that the general's family objects mightily to the current hodgepodge of a design for his memorial, however it's been prettified here and there by a little statuary. Here's hoping the Eisenhowers stand fast against all these hurry-up-and-build-it pressures. Why build in haste only to repent at leisure?
The important thing is to get it right, not just to get it built.
Editorial on 08/03/2015
Print Headline: Do it right