On this day in 1890, Dwight D. Eisenhower was born in Texas. 130 years later, his newly constructed memorial opened in Washington, D.C.

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial opened to the public on September 17, 2020. Student groups will be welcome to explore the small memorial park to discover more about the 34th President of the United States.

According to their website, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial site “bears a close and unique relationship to his life-long public service.” The memorial is located in downtown Washington, D.C. right in front of the Department of Education building. If you’re a history guru, you’ll remember that Eisenhower helped create federal student aid programs and grants to improve public school instruction.

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Photo is taken from Eisenhower Memorial website.

The memorial is also located adjacent to the Federal Aviation Administration building and behind the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Eisenhower is credited for leading “the effort to create the U.S. Air Force while Chief of Staff of the Army.”

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission wanted to design a memorial that honored both Eisenhower as a five-star general and Eisenhower as the 34th President of the United States. For this reason, the memorial is segmented into a few sections with four main points of interest:

  • Eisenhower as President – On the left side of the memorial core will be a statue honoring Eisenhower as President. The statue depicts Eisenhower standing in the oval office flanked by civilian and military advisors. In the background is a map of the world, and this statue will also feature quotes from Eisenhower’s first inaugural address and farewell address.
  • Eisenhower as Five-Star General – On the right side of the memorial core will be a statue honoring Eisenhower as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force during World War II. The statue shows Eisenhower speaking to the 101st Airborne Division on the eve of D-Day. Quotes from his speech given before D-Day and his address to the British Parliament (1945) are inscribed on the front and back of the statue.
  • Eisenhower the Young Man – A smaller, life-size statue of Eisenhower as a boy will be located in the northwest corner of the park. The memorial designers wanted to capture and depict “the trajectory of his life as the quintessential American story.” They included the statue alongside an inscription of the homecoming speech he gave when returning to Abilene, KS after World War II.
  • The Tapestry – The most eye-catching and remarkable part of the Eisenhower Memorial will be the massive, metal tapestry directly in front of the Department of Education building. The tapestry stands 600 feet long and 60 feet high, and is supported by six concrete pillars. The image is of Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, the site of the D-Day landing.


Photo is taken from Eisenhower Memorial website.

Just like the other monuments and memorials around Washington, D.C., the Eisenhower Memorial has been designed to be lit up after dark for evening tours. There will also be a memorial support building with memorial information, retail area, and restrooms. There is no space for motor coaches to park, but there will be a designated drop-off point on 4th street. The park portion of the memorial will be a nice place to stop and eat, but please be advised there will be no trashcans on the property, so students will have to carry their trash to another location for disposal.

What do you think? Will you be adding the Eisenhower Memorial as a stop on your Washington, D.C. itinerary?

The opening ceremonies are scheduled to take place September 17th, be sure to stay up to date by following their Facebook page if you’re interested.

Originally published October 2020, updated December 2020.