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Welcome to Wiser Now’s weekly email blast which reflects my eclectic interests and, I hope, yours. This week, my focus is on Architecture Appreciation Month, Memorial Day and the 75th anniversary of VE Day, celebrating the date (May 8, 1945) when Nazi Germany unconditionally surrendered to the Allies of World War II. Specifically, to celebrate them all, I’m using what was supposed to be the dedication of the new Eisenhower Memorial on that anniversary, but has now been postponed until September. Pictured President Eisenhower's boyhood home.

I hope you are finding these offerings fun, and perhaps even useful, and I welcome your feedback. (Kathy@WiserNow.com) And if you haven’t yet pressed the subscribe button so this newsletter doesn’t go to spam, please do so now.

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The Quirky Quote

Norman Rockwell, who painted Dwight D. Eisenhower several times said this of him: Eisenhower had about the most expressive face I ever painted, I guess. . . . When he talked, he used all the facial muscles. And he had a great, wide mouth that I liked. When he smiled, it was just like the sun came out.

The photo and painting both prove it.
 

The Quality Facts

Dwight Eisenhower, known from childhood as Ike, was appointed as Supreme Commander of Allied Expeditionary Forces during World War II and led the invasion of Normandy – the most decisive battle in Europe – and later served two terms as the 34th U.S. President. While his accomplishments were many, including the end of the Korean War, advances in education and civil rights, balanced budgets, the interstate highway system and more, he seems little remembered today. Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, a few hundred thousand are still alive, but all are over 90 and likely to be gone within a decade. Therefore, a memorial in his honor is about time.


The Quirky Observation
Although elected President in part because of the leadership he showed in World War II, Dwight Eisenhower was a general who argued against war. Here are a few of my favorite quotes of his:

  • I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.
  • [W]e must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
  • Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
  • I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.
  • This world of ours... must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.
  • [M]ay we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.

Now there’s food for thought!

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Can a Presidential slide show be non-political? Yes, mine is! This slide show introduces the U.S. Presidents and First Ladies in a lighthearted way with six trivia quizzes that cover a lot of presidential tidbits from pets (Who owned parrots?) to peculiar breakfast habits, plus presidential inaugurations, First Lady accomplishments and First Lady firsts, and what you may not know about the Lincoln bedroom. Learn more and/or order it here and see an excerpt here.
 

The Quiz 
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial was approved in 1999, but has taken more than 20 years to bring to fruition. Although famous architect Frank Gehry was selected to design it, his first design was rejected, and ironically, the memorial that Eisenhower’s descendants wanted as a tribute to peace has been highly contentious in the making. Can you guess the answers to these six questions?

1. The most striking (and controversial) aspect of the memorial is an innovative, transparent stainless-steel woven “tapestry,” consisting of panels 450 feet long by 60 feet high that begin 15 feet off the ground. It is supported by evenly-spaced 80-foot limestone-covered columns. The abstract design depicts the Normandy coastline during the Allied assault in June 1944.
True ___      False ___

2. The tapestry is transparent, but sturdy. It will need yearly power washing, but can withstand hurricane force winds and earthquakes.
True ___      False ___

3. Critics of the tapestry are less enthusiastic, calling it a rat’s nest of wires that will “become a trap for debris caught in the breeze and a mausoleum for dead birds.”
True ___      False ___

4. The rest of the 4-acre memorial is a peaceful park that encourages lingering there.
True ___      False ___

5. Eisenhower was admired for his leadership, but he wasn’t always patient. An avid golfer, he had an outdoor putting green put in just steps away from the Oval Office. To his dismay, however, the green was continually dug up by squirrels burying acorns and walnuts. He ordered the squirrels shot, and the staff obeyed.
True ___      False ___

6. Frank Gehry’s early career was as a designer of corrugated curving cardboard furniture that was a precursor to the metal architectural curves he would later become famous for.
True ___      False ___

Answers at the end of document.
 

The Shameless Request

Please share Wiser Now Wednesday with anyone you think might be interested, and if you represent an organization that would like a customized version, please send me a note at Kathy@WiserNow.com.


The Kiosk of Resources

Answers to Quiz

1. True and false: It’s true up until the line of what it depicts. Eisenhower’s descendants specifically wanted the memorial to represent the peace Eisenhower won as Supreme Commander and preserved as Commander in Chief. The tapestry is an abstract artistic depiction of the cliffs of the Normandy coastline in peacetime.
2. True.
3. True. Time will tell.
4. True and false. There is that park-like setting, but there are also multiple bronze statues and limestone blocks engraved with Eisenhower quotes.
5. True and false. It’s true up to the point of “the staff obeyed.” They trapped and released them into Rock Creek Park.
6. True – See photo at right
 
My multiple goals are to amuse and inspire you, to share what I and people whom I admire am doing, to stimulate your curiosity and spur you to action. I hope you enjoyed this offering. You can access previous issues here. We welcome your feedback. (Kathy@WiserNow.com)
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