In March 19 testimony to Congress, Susan Eisenhower reiterated the Eisenhower family's opposition to the Frank Gehry design for an Eisenhower monument of a scale and extravagance that would embarrass Ramesses II. Click through the quote to read the grounds of objection from John S.D. Eisenhower, the historian and son of the former president.
Significant stakeholders believe that the Gehry design is, regretfully, unworkable. My family – as well as countless members of the public and the media – thinks the design is flawed in concept and overreaching in scale. The recent durability study notes the limited lifetime of the metal scrims, as well as the potential ice and snow hazard to the public. It also notes that the current design, to meet presidential memorial specifications, would require a duplicate set of scrims to be furnished—with the additional costs that would entail. Yet despite all this, the Commission’s approach is to plow ahead with a design that has virtually no support outside of a percentage of the architectural community—which has understandably rallied more in defense of architect Frank Gehry than for the specific memorial design itself.
For more than ten years my family raised concerns and objections that were ignored. We believe they were never adequately communicated to all the Commission members. Any disagreement we had with them was criticized as an attempt to scuttle the building of the memorial. This could not be farther from the truth. The president’s only surviving son, our father, John S. D. Eisenhower, has been clear about his desire to see a memorial, but one which reflects his father’s values and enjoys national consensus. More than once this year he has weighed in, most recently this fall in a letter to the late Senator Daniel Inouye. I am providing a copy of the letter today,