See the new Eisenhower Memorial before Thursday dedication

September 14, 2020

(WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

D.C.’s long-awaited memorial honoring president and World War II commanding general Dwight D. Eisenhower will be dedicated Thursday and opened to the public a day later, after a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new memorial to the nation’s 34th president was originally slated for dedication on May 8 — exactly 75 years after the end of World War II in Europe. With the emergence of the coronavirus, this week’s rescheduled dedication has been scaled back to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines for public gatherings.

The $150 million structure is situated in a large, newly created park along eastbound Independence Avenue, across from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, south of the National Mall.

Architect Frank Gehry’s tribute to Eisenhower features three bronze sculptures by Sergey Eylanbekov, stone bas-relief images and inscription panels with words from throughout Eisenhower’s career. The statues depict stages of his life, starting with boyhood in Kansas. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

As Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in World War II, Eisenhower led the invasion of Normandy, a turning point in the war. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial is located south of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum along Independence Avenue. (Courtesy Google Maps)

In his two terms as 34th president of the United States, Eisenhower is credited with spurring advances in education, transportation and exploration. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Perhaps most notable is a stainless steel woven tapestry framing the memorial by artist Tomas Osinski, which depicts the cliffs of Point du Hoc on the Normandy coastline in peacetime. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

The memorial was commissioned by Congress in 1999 and built by the Eisenhower Memorial Commission. Among guests invited to Thursday’s ceremony include President Donald Trump, current and former members of Congress, Cabinet members, military leaders, and the Eisenhower family.

The National Park Service will operate the memorial once it opens to the public on Friday. The dedication ceremony will be livestreamed on Facebook.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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