Dwight David Eisenhower
Burial Location Visited President Grave #
Abilene, Kansas August 12, 2009 35th Visited

The most celebrated military
figure of World War II, General
Dwight Eisenhower went on to
become the thirty-fourth U.S.
president. He is interred on the
grounds of his presidential library
within the Place of Meditation.

Eisenhower achieved the rare
rank of a five-star general of
the Army, and his funerary
arrangements were in keeping
with the pride he had in his
armed forces background. On
April 2, 1969, he was laid to rest
in a simple military issue casket,
dressed in his Army uniform.

Former First Lady Mamie Eisenhower is
entombed with her husband, as is their son
Doud, who died at age three from scarlet
fever. The sunken burial pit is partially
enclosed by three limestone walls covered
in excerpts from the former president's

Eisenhower's nickname was Ike, and "I
Like Ike" was one of the most popular
slogans in presidential campaign history.
Chief executive from 1953 to 1961,
Eisenhower presided during a period
marked by the Cold War, struggles for
racial equality, a post-war baby boom,
and increased consumerism.

* Fast Facts * *

- First Lady: Mamie Geneva Doud Eisenhower

  - Spouse: Mamie Geneva Doud Eisenhower (m. 1916-1969)

- Political Party: Republican Party

- Term: 1953-1961

- Vice President: Richard Milhous Nixon

- Born: October 14, 1890

- Died: March 28, 1969

- Age: 78

- Cause of Death: Congestive Heart Failure

- Last Words: "I want to go. God take me."

 Cemetery: Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum & Boyhood Home,     Abilene, Kansas

- GPS Coordinates: 38°54'42.7"N 97°12'46.6"W

* * * Background on Dwight Eisenhower * * *

* The beginning of Dwight Eisenhower's military career did not indicate that he was on a path to great success. When he left the family farm in 1911 for the United States Military Academy, his primary motivators were a free education and a chance to play football. A second-year knee injury upended Ike's athletic pursuits, and the cadet struggled to find his footing at West Point. He was a rebel who pulled pranks and violated curfew while achieving mediocre academic grades. Eisenhower graduated in the middle of his class, was given the rank of lieutenant, and was assigned to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. When the U.S. entered World War I in 1917, he was ordered to remain stateside to train volunteers rather than go overseas to France himself. Ike wanted to play a more active role in the war and work his way up the military ladder, and spending the war in Maryland, Georgia, and Pennsylvania did not advance those goals.

Eisenhower's career began to change course in 1922, when he was stationed in Panama and tasked with protecting the canal. There, he was mentored by General Fox Conner, who provided him with books about military theories and leadership and gave him daily logistics-related assignments. Conner then facilitated Eisenhower's enrollment at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He ranked first in the 1926 graduating class. Eisenhower was subsequently assigned to the War Department to serve under General John Pershing, head of the Battle Monuments Commission. In 1932 he began to serve under Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur, who left Washington for the Philippines in 1935 and took Major Eisenhower with him. The Philippines had been a U.S. territory since the McKinley administration and was transitioning into a semi-independent commonwealth. MacArthur's job was to formulate defense plans for the 7,000 Filipino islands and to help create a Filipino army. While working with MacArthur in the Pacific, Eisenhower gained expertise and experience that made him a valuable asset after American entry into World War II. He returned to the states in December 1939 and continued to accrue increased responsibilities as a colonel. In 1941, Eisenhower played a significant role in drafting plans for a war game called the Louisiana Maneuvers, which aimed to test inexperienced U.S. troops and weed out poor performers. Eisenhower was promoted to brigadier general for his efforts.

* On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Naval Air Service launched a surprise attack on Naval Station Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. The following day, Congress granted President Franklin Roosevelt's request for a declaration of war. Italy and Nazi Germany, Japan's allies, then declared war on the U.S., fully bringing Americans into the Second World War. Soon after Pearl Harbor, Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall called upon Eisenhower to assess the prospects of defending the Philippines from Japan in light of the Pacific Fleet being knocked out of commission at Pearl Harbor. Marshall asked Ike for his recommendations and then ordered him to fulfill his own proposals, such as establishing a base in Australia. Eisenhower impressed Marshall so profoundly while he was on his staff that in June 1942 he selected him to be the commander of American forces in the European Theater. Headquartered in London, Lieutenant General Eisenhower's primary task was to calculate how to liberate France, which the Nazis had occupied since June 1940. Ike endeared himself to British officials, oversaw the buildup of American troops in the United Kingdom, and orchestrated successful Allied campaigns in North Africa and Italy.

In December 1943, President Roosevelt selected Eisenhower to be the Supreme Allied Commander in charge of overseeing the liberating invasion of German-controlled Western Europe, also known as Operation Overlord. Though he had contemplated giving General Marshall the command, FDR felt more comfortable keeping Marshall stateside. Furthermore, Eisenhower had led multiple successful invasions. On June 6, 1944, American, British, and Canadian forces landed on five beach sectors in Normandy, France. 160,000 Allied combatants emanated from 18,000 watercraft and aircraft, sieging the coastline in what British Prime Minister Winston Churchill described as "the most difficult and complicated operation ever to take place." The invasion was a military success and paved the way for Nazi Germany's eventual surrender in May 1945. By then, Eisenhower was a five-star general and hero to the world.

* Eisenhower's initial post-war posts included serving as president of Columbia University, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and supreme commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) international military alliance. Ahead of the 1952 presidential election, he also received pressure to run for the White House. Courted by both Democrats and Republicans, Eisenhower initially voiced objection to entering politics. The GOP eventually conscripted him to be the moderate alternative to isolationist Senator Robert Taft in the primaries, and Eisenhower defeated Taft for the Republican nomination. In November, he won a resounding victory over the Democratic candidate, Governor Adlai Stevenson II of Illinois. To the dismay of Republican conservatives, Ike's agenda was not entirely dissimilar to that of his predecessor, Democrat Harry S. Truman. Even though Candidate Eisenhower criticized the Truman administration’s expenditures, President Eisenhower’s first budget proposal was not all together dissimilar from Truman’s. As chief executive, Eisenhower advocated for Modern Republicanism. Proponents of this methodology sought to tweak existing infrastructure, such as remaining New Deal policies, instead of dramatically enhancing or dismantling it.

During Ike's tenure he sought an expansion of social security and a minimum wage increase, and he pushed through the Federal Aid Highway Act, which covered ninety percent of the construction cost for what became known as the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System. He also strove to enhance public housing and health insurance infrastructure, but was thwarted by members of both of the major political parties. Abroad, the hostilities of the Korean War ended with a ceasefire in July 1953, Ike's first year in office. Yet while that aspect of the geopolitical Cold War between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. was over, Eisenhower continued Truman's policy of attempted containment of communism, albeit in new ways. The president used the Central Intelligence Agency to upend regimes in Iran and Guatemala out of concern that they were vulnerable to Soviet and communist influences.

Despite suffering a major heart attack in September 1955, Ike ran for re-election in 1956 and once again defeated Adlai Stevenson. His second term was much tougher to navigate than his first. On September 2, 1957, Arkansas governor Orval Faubus ordered the National Guard to block nine black teenagers from entering Little Rock High School, in defiance of the 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that declared racial segregation in education was unconstitutional. Angry crowds at the school also hindered integration. Eisenhower opposed racism, but was hesitant about the government intervening to stop prejudicial acts. The president was therefore slow to respond to the unrest in Arkansas, and it wasn't until late September that Eisenhower granted the Little Rock mayor's request by federalizing the National Guard and using the Army to override Governor Faubus.

Then in early October, the U.S.S.R. launched the first artificial space satellite, Sputnik, which stoked fears about Soviet missile capabilities. As Cold War anxiety rose again, Eisenhower faced criticism for the low military budget, and then for the faltering economy. His first term saw a booming economy and an expansion of the middle class, but various socioeconomic factors had since caused inflation. The government's corrective actions stunted economic growth. Additionally, the president's efforts to reduce tensions with the Soviet Union were undone when a mission he approved went awry. Just before a summit with Premier Nikita Krushchev in May 1960, Eisenhower gave his consent for a U-2 spy plane to surveil Soviet territory. After the craft was shot down and its pilot captured, Krushchev backed out of the summit and the Cold War worsened. Following a weary second term, Eisenhower left office in 1961 at age seventy -- the oldest of any U.S. president to that point. In his farewell address of January 17th from the Oval Office, he warned, among other things, about the influence of the military-industrial complex and the potential implications of an arms race.

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American Experience. "Ike, Part One: Soldier." Directed by Adriana Bosch. PBS, 1993.

American Experience. "Ike, Part Two: Statesman." Directed by Adriana Bosch. PBS, 1993.

Bunch, Lonnie. "The Little Rock Nine." National Museum of African American History & Culture. Accessed May 9, 2020. https://nmaahc.si.edu/blog-post/little-rock-nine.

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Korda, Michael. Ike: An American Hero. New York: Harper Perennial, 2008.

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Stebenne, David L. "Dwight D. Eisenhower." In The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency, edited by Alan Brinkley and Davis Dyer, 402-17. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000.

"Transcript of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Farewell Address (1961)." ourdocuments.gov. Accessed May 9, 2020. https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=90&page=transcript.

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