Eisenhower memorial design draws criticism

Oct. 7, 2011 at 10:33 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- The proposed design for a Washington memorial to former President Dwight Eisenhower has drawn criticism from some family members.

Three of the Eisenhower's granddaughters issued a statement expressing concern about the "concept for the memorial, as well as the scope and scale of it," The Washington Post reported.

Anne, Susan and Mary Jean Eisenhower expressed gratitude to Congress and the White House for supporting the memorial but said, "We feel that now is the time to get these elements right -- before any final design approvals are given and before any ground is broken."

The design, by architect Frank Gehry and others, is based on what Gehry calls "the barefoot boy" from Kansas, taken from a speech Eisenhower gave after returning from World War II and meant to capture his simple roots.

The design features metal tapestries hung from large stone pillars and includes a scene from a Kansas winter, with an outdoor colonnade in a park-like setting. Designers are considering a statue of Eisenhower as a young man, not as president or commander of Allied forces, the Post said.

Daniel J. Feil, executive architect for the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, declined to comment on the granddaughters' statement but said David Eisenhower, the brother of the three sisters, is a commission member who supports the design.

Others have criticized the design.

"A life-size sculpture of a barefoot boy -- if that's how we want to memorialize Eisenhower, that's a travesty," said Justin Shubow, secretary of the board of the National Civic Art Society, which had an independent competition last spring seeking more traditional memorial designs.

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