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General Eisenhower of Kansas

August 1945 (Vol. 13 No. 7), pages 365 to 389.
Transcribed by lhn;
digitized with permission of the Kansas Historical Society.

Kansas Historical Quarterly, August 1945IN June, 1945, Dwight David Eisenhower, supreme commander of the allied armies in Europe, returned to the United States for the first time after the victory in Europe. As the executive who welded more than five million men and women into a unified force, and as a great general, he had received world acclaim. In London, Paris, Washington, New York, West Point and Kansas City the highest honors were bestowed upon him. On the 21st he came home for a visit with members of his family, including his mother and four brothers. He stayed in Abilene two days and was welcomed in a celebration that demonstrated the pride and affection of his fellow Kansans.

On June 22 Abilene and Dickinson county held an old-fashioned, non-military, rural parade, featuring scenes and incidents of the Abilene Eisenhower had known as a boy. In the afternoon he spoke in a park which has been named for him. The next day General Eisenhower visited with his family and that evening he returned East for a brief vacation. In July he returned to Europe, where on July 14 he dissolved supreme headquarters of the allied expeditionary force, and resumed his duties as supreme commander of the American sector and American representative on the allied control commission for Germany.


Winston Churchill has described General Eisenhower as a "creative, constructive and combining genius." No soldier ever returned from war in greater glory or with the gratitude of so many lands and peoples. Unlike many heroes of history, his conduct since V-E day has added to his stature. Surrounded by adulation, his speeches have been notable for humility and common sense, as the following extracts show. Only a few of these speeches were set addresses. Most were extemporaneous, although nearly all were broadcast and all were fully reported.



General Eisenhower's order of the day, May 8:

The crusade on which we embarked in the early summer of 1944 has reached its glorious conclusion. It is my especial privilege, in the name of all nations represented in this theater of war, to commend each of you for the valiant performance of duty.
Though these words are feeble, they come from the bottom of a heart overflowing with pride in your loyal service and admiration for you as warriors. Your accomplishments at sea, in the air, on the ground and in the field of supply have astonished the world.
Even before the final week of the conflict you had put 5,000,000 of the enemy permanently out of the war. You have taken in stride military tasks so difficult as to be classed by many doubters as impossible. You have confused, defeated and destroyed your savagely fighting foe. On the road to victory you have endured every discomfort and privation and have surmounted every obstacle ingenuity and desperation could throw in your path. You did not pause until our front was firmly joined up with the great Red army coming from the east and other allied forces coming from the south.
Full victory in Europe has been attained. Working and fighting together in single and indestructible partnership you have achieved a perfection in the unification of air, ground and naval power that will stand as a model in our time.
The route you have traveled through hundreds of miles is marked by the graves of former comrades. From them have been exacted the ultimate sacrifice. The blood of many nations-American, British, Canadian, French, Polish and others-has helped to gain the victory. Each of the fallen died as a member of a team to which you belong, bound together by a common love of liberty and a refusal to submit to enslavement. No monument of stone, no memorial of whatever magnitude could so well express our respect and veneration for their sacrifice as would the perpetuation of the spirit of comradeship in which they died.
As we celebrate victory in Europe let us remind ourselves that our common problems of the immediate and distant future can be best solved in the same conceptions of cooperation and devotion to the cause of human freedom as have made this expeditionary force such a mighty engine of righteous destruction. Let us have no part in the profitless quarrels in which other men will inevitably engage as to what country and what service won the European war.
Every man and every woman of every nation here represented has served according to his or her ability and efforts and each has contributed to the outcome. This we shall remember and in doing so we shall be revering each honored grave and be sending comfort to the loved ones of comrades who could not live to see this day . [1]

From allied headquarters in Reims, May 8:

Merely to name my own present and former principal subordinates in this theater is to present a picture of the utmost in loyalty, skill, selflessness and efficiency. The United Nations will gratefully remember Tedder, Bradley, Montgomery, Ramsey, Spaatz, DeLattre, and countless others.

But all these agree with me in the selection of a truly heroic man of this war.
He is GI Joe and his counterpart in the air, the navy and the merchant marine of every one of the United Nations. He has surmounted the dangers of U-boat infested seas, of bitter battles in the air, of desperate charges into defended beaches, of tedious, dangerous fighting against the ultimate in fortified zones. He has uncomplainingly endured cold, mud, fatigue. His companion has been danger, and death has trailed his footsteps. He and his platoon and company leaders have given to us a record of gallantry, loyalty, devotion to duty and patient endurance that will warm our hearts for as long as those qualities excite our admiration.
So history's mightiest machine of conquest has been utterly destroyed. The deliberate design of brutal, worldwide rape by the German nation, absorbed from the diseased brain of Hitler, has met the fate decreed for it by outraged justice.
Some of us will stay here to police the areas of the nation that we have conquered, so that systems of justice and of order may prevail. Some will be called upon to participate in the Pacific war, but some-and I trust in everincreasing numbers-will soon experience the joy of returning home. I speak for the more than three million Americans in this theater in saying that when we are so fortunate as to come back to you, there need be no welcoming parades, no special celebrations. All we ask is to come back into the warmth of the hearts we left behind and resume once more pursuits of peace, under our own American perceptions of liberty and of right, in which our beloved country has always dwelt?

At Guildhall in London, June 12, after being made an honorary citizen of the city:

The high sense of distinction I feel in receiving this great honor from the city of London is inescapably mingled with feelings of profound sadness. All of us must always regret that your great country and mine were ever faced with the tragic situation that compelled the appointment of an allied commander in chief, the capacity in which I have just been so extravagantly corm-mended. Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in the blood of his followers and the sacrifices of his friends. Conceivably a commander may have been professionally superior. He may have given everything of his heart and mind to meet the spiritual and physical needs of his comrades. He may have written a chapter that will glow forever in the pages of military history. Still, even such a man-if he existed-would sadly face the facts that his honors cannot hide in his memories the crosses marking the resting places of the dead. They cannot soothe the anguish of the widow or the orphan whose husband or father will not return.
The only attitude in which a commander may with satisfaction receive the tributes of his friends is in the humble acknowledgment that no matter how unworthy he may be his position is the symbol of great human forces that have labored arduously and successfully for a righteous cause. Unless he feels


this symbolism and this rightness in what he has tried to do, then he is disregardful of courage, fortitude and devotion of the vast multitudes he has been honored to command. If all allied men and women that have served with me in this war can only know that it is they whom this august body is really honoring today, then indeed I will be content.
This feeling of humility cannot erase, of course, my great pride in being tendered the freedom of London. I am not a native of this land. I come from the very heart of America. In the superficial aspects by which we ordinarily recognize family relationships, the town where I was born and the one where I was reared are far separated from this great city. Abilene, Kan., and Denison, Tex., would together equal in size possibly one five-hundredth of a part of great London.
By your standards those towns are young, without your aged traditions that carry the roots of London back into the uncertainties of unrecorded history. To those people I am proud to belong.
But I find myself today 5,000 miles from that countryside, the honored guest of a city whose name stands for grandeur and size throughout the world. Hardly would it seem possible for the London council to have gone farther afield to find a man to honor with its priceless gift of token citizenship.
Yet kinship among nations is not determined in such measurements as proximity of size and age. Rather we should turn to those inner things--call them what you will-I mean those intangibles that are the real treasures free men possess.
To preserve his freedom of worship, his equality before law, his liberty to speak and act as he sees fit, subject only to provisions that he trespass not upon similar rights of others--a Londoner will fight. So will a citizen of Abilene. When we consider these things, then the valley of the Thames draws closer to the farms of Kansas and the plains of Texas. To my mind it is clear that when two peoples will face the tragedies of war to defend the same spiritual values, the same treasured rights, then in the deepest sense those two are truly related. So even as I proclaim my undying Americanism, I am bold enough and exceedingly proud to claim the basis of kinship to you of London.
And what man who has followed the history of this war could fail to experience an inspiration from the example of this city?
When the British Empire stood-alone but unconquered, almost naked but unafraid-to deny the Hitler hordes, it was on this devoted city that the first terroristic blows were launched.
Five years and eight months of war, much of it on the actual battle line, blitzes big and little, flying V-bombs-all of -them you took in your stride. You worked, and from your needed efforts you would not be deterred. You carried on, and from your midst arose no cry for mercy, no wail of defeat. The Battle of Britain will take its place as another of your deathless traditions. And your faith and endurance have finally been rewarded.
You had been more than two years in war when Americans in numbers began swarming into your country. Most were mentally unprepared for the realities of war-especially as waged by the Nazis. Others believed that the tales of British sacrifice had been exaggerated. Still others failed to recognize the difficulties of the task ahead.

[Two photos of Eisenhower in uniform during his celebratory visit to Kansas.]

General Eisenhower Signals a Double V for Victory As He Rides in the
Parade To the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Mo.

[Two photos of Eisenhower in uniform during his celebratory visit to Kansas.]

At Topeka, June 21, the General Steps Down From His Special Train To
Greet Some of the War Wounded From Winter General Hospital.


All such doubts, questions and complacencies could not endure a single casual tour through your scarred streets and avenues. With awe our men gazed upon the empty spaces where once had stood buildings erected by the toil and sweat of peaceful folk. Our eyes rounded as we saw your women, serving quietly and efficiently in almost every kind of war effort, even with flak batteries. We became accustomed to the warning sirens which seemed to compel from the native Londoner not even a single hurried step. Gradually we drew closer together until we became true partners in war.
In London my associates and I planned two great expeditions-that to inwade the Mediterranean and later that to cross the channel. London's hospitality to the Americans, her good-humored acceptance of the added inconvenience we brought, her example of fortitude and quiet confidence in the ' final outcome-all these helped to make the supreme headquarters of the two allied expeditions the smooth-working organizations they became.
They were composed of chosen representatives of two proud and independent peoples, each noted for its initiative and for its satisfaction with its own customs, manners and methods. Many feared that those representatives could never combine together in an efficient fashion to solve the complex problems I g presented by modern war.
I hope you believe we proved the doubters wrong. And, moreover, I hold that we proved this point not only for war-we proved it can always be done by our two peoples, provided only that both show the same good will, the same forbearance, the same objective attitude that the British and Americans so amply demonstrated in the nearly three years of bitter campaigning.
No man could alone have brought about this result. Had I possessed the military skill of a Marlborough, the wisdom of Solomon the understanding of Lincoln, I still would have been helpless without the loyalty, vision and generosity of thousands upon thousands of British and Americans.
Some of them were companions in the high command. Many were enlisted Ycompg## men and junior officers carrying the fierce brunt of battle, and many others were back in the United States and here in Great Britain in London. Moreover, back of us always our great national war leaders and their civil and military staffs that supported and encouraged us through every trial, every test. The whole was one great team. I know that on this special occasion 3,000,000 American men and women serving in the allied expeditionary force would want me to pay a tribute of admiration, respect and affection to their British comrades of this war.
My most cherished hope is that after Japan joins the Nazis in utter defeat, neither my country nor yours need ever again summon its sons and daughters from their peaceful pursuits to face the tragedies of battle. But-a fact important for both of us to remember-neither London nor Abilene, sisters under the skin, will sell her birthright for physical safety, her liberty for mere existence. No petty differences in the world of trade, traditions or national pride should ever blind us to our identities in priceless values.
If we keep our eyes on this guidepost, then no difficulties along our path of mutual cooperation can ever be insurmountable. Moreover, when this truth has permeated to the remotest hamlet and heart of all peoples, then indeed


may we beat our swords into plowshares and all nations can enjoy the fruitfulness of the earth.
My Lord Mayor, I thank you once again for an honor to me and to the American forces that will remain one of the proudest in my memories. [3]

In Paris, June 14:

In one way or another America owes a debt of sentiment or some other kind of debt to every nation in Europe. There is the blood of every nation of Europe in America. There may have been differences-you [to Gen. Charles de Gaulle] and I have had some. But let us bring our troubles to each other frankly and face them together.
I hope that America will be friendly with every nation in Europe. If ever I have to be hanged, I hope that it will be for being too friendly. [4]

Before a joint session of the Congress of the United States in Washington, June 18:

Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, and Members of Congress, Ladies and Gentlemen:
My imagination cannot picture a more dramatic moment than this in the life of an American. I stand before the elected federal lawmakers of our great Republic, the very core of our political life and a symbol of those things we call the American heritage. To preserve that heritage, more than three million of our citizens, at your behest, have faced resolutely every terror the ruthless Nazi could devise. I come before you as the representativethe commander-of those three million American men and women, to whom you desire to pay America's tribute for military victory. In humble realization that they, who earned your commendation, should properly be here to receive it, I am nevertheless proud and honored to be your agent in conveying it to them.
I have seen the American proved on battlegrounds of America and Europe over which armies have been fighting for 2,000 years of recorded history. None of those battlefields has seen a more worthy soldier than the trained American.
The American fighting man has never failed to recognize his dependence upon you at home. . . . I hope you realize that all you have done for your soldiers has been truly appreciated.
The battlefront and the home front; together we have found the victoryl But even the banners of triumph cannot hide from our sight the sacrifices in which victory has been bought. The hard task of a commander is to send men into battle knowing some of them-often many-must be killed or wounded in order that necessary missions may be achieved.
It is a soul-killing task! My sorrow is not only for the fine young lives lost or broken, but it is equally for the parents, the wives and the friends who have been bereaved. The price they pay is possibly the greatest.
The blackness of their grief can be relieved only by the faith that all this shall not happen again!
Because I feel this so deeply I hope you will let me attempt to express a thought that I believe is today imbedded deep in the hearts of all fighting


men. It is this: The soldier knows how grim and black was the outlook for the allies in 1941 and 1942. He is fully aware of the magnificent way the United Nations responded to the threat. To his mind the problems of peace can be no more difficult than the one you had to solve more than three years ago, and which, in one battle area, has now been brought to a successful conclusion. He knows that in war the threat of separate annihilation tends to hold allies together; he hopes we can find peace a nobler incentive to produce the same unity.
He passionately believes that, with the same determination, the same optimistic resolution and the same mutual consideration among allies that marshaled in Europe forces capable of crushing what had been the greatest war machine of history, the problems of peace can and must be met.
He sees the United Nations strong but considerate; humane and understanding leaders in the world to preserve the peace he is winning.
The genius and power of America have, with her allies, eliminated one menace to our country's freedom-even her very existence. Still another remains to be crushed in the Pacific before peace will be restored.
The American men and women I have been so honored to command, would, I know, say this to you today: In our minds and hearts there is no slightest doubt that our people's spirit of determination, which has buoyed us up and driven us forward in Europe, will continue to fire this nation through the ordeals of battle yet to come. Though we dream of return to our loved ones, we are ready, as we have always been, to do our duty to our country, no matter what it may be. . .

At the New York City Hall, June 19, after being made an honorary citizen of the city:

Mr. Mayor and New Yorkers:
As my first act as a citizen of the City of New York I want to issue to the mayor a word of warning. New York simply cannot do this to a Kansas farmer boy and keep its reputation for sophistication. . . .
There is another thing, Mr. Mayor, that impressed me very much as you and I rode down through the cheering throngs this morning: First, the reason for the cheering-it was not because one individual, one American, came back from war; it is rejoicing that a nasty job is done-one nasty job is finished. The Nazi has been placed where he won't harm us for a little while, anyway. How much better would it have been had there been no cause for rejoicing, had there been no war.. . .@@ At a dinner in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City, June 19: $$Mr. Mayor, Governor Dewey, Ladies and Gentlemen:
To say that the hearts of myself and my comrades that have come with me from Europe are stirred by the reception from New York is the rankest kind of understatement.
We have beheld scenes today that we didn't know were possible. Time and again in the tour of the city with the mayor I felt, and I know that my com-


rades felt, that we would almost have to stop. This wasn't the kind of thing to which we were accustomed. We were simple soldiers coming home from the wars merely seeking the warmth again of America after what we had been through in Europe.
But the emotion stirred by seeing people that would ordinarily be termed strangers showing to us the warrants of friendship in such an unmistakable way as to fill our hearts to overflowing and practically to bring tears to our eyes. It was something that will be an experience to remember always.
Before I go further I want to say one thing in defense of the regular officer of the army brought to my mind by the wonderful commendation given to me personally between the introductory remarks.
There is no greater pacifist than the regular officer.
Any man who is forced to turn his attention to the horrors of the battlefield, to the grotesque shapes that are left there for the burying squads-he doesn't want war. He never wants it. He is an agent of his government to do a necessary and very desperate task. And it is to the welfare of the United States always to see that they have people studying those things and ready in emergency to do what the regular officer has done in this war, namely, furnish the technical leadership for the tactical, applied tactical power of a whole nation.
These tributes that were brought to me and to my comrades brought a curious idea to my head-I don't mean curious, I mean it was one I hadn't thought of before. It was this: Why shouldn't America as represented by New York-and I thoroughly agree that New York is representative of America-why shouldn't New York be celebrating what it has done? Don't ever let any one sell short what America has done in this war. Not only has it been the arsenal of democracy, it has furnished some of the best fighting divisions, the best air forces and the best navy that this war has produced.
America's record in production and on the battle line is one that will fill our histories forever, and today you should turn your thoughts to what you have done, and I mean you, America. And remember that you can do it because self-confidence is one of the great things that brings greater achievements still in the future. We are still at war. I hope that the rejoicing in which we indulge because of the crushing of the Nazi will never blind us to the task we still have in the Pacific. The reason I bring this up at this moment is this-it is to your interest always to remember it.
With the enormous quota that you have furnished for the battle lines you have a tremendous interest in seeing that losses are minimized. Losses are minimized by producing the most powerful machine that you can possibly crowd into a given area of ground to defeat the enemy. If you apply overwhelming force losses for your side are negligible.
That is what you must do in the Pacific-apply the maximum force that America is capable of developing and you will win quickly and with the least losses. One of the things that you must remember particularly is production, because here represented in many of its forms, financial, industrial, economic, New York is the heart of America. Production must be kept up because when a bomb can do the work let us not spend an American life for it.
But this connection of yours with the battle line is no impersonal thing.

[photos of Eisenhower in uniform during his visit to Kansas, one including his wife, Mamie.]

General Washington Greets His Mother at the Kansas City Memorial
Airport, June 21, While his Brother Milton Looks On.

[photos of Eisenhower in uniform during his visit to Kansas, one including his wife, Mamie.]

General and Mrs. Eisenhower Seated in the Abilene Park Which Has
Been Named for Him. He Speaks There June 25.


Your quotas on the battle line prevent any such idea creeping into our thinking. And you can do more than merely your share in producing the arms and equipment that save American lives.
There is a spiritual side to the soldier's life that is often starved. I mean his opportunities for recreation for feeling close to his home folks. One of the ways that that can be helped is through the entertainment sponsored by the USO. It is something that deserves your support just exactly as does the Red Cross. They have done magnificent work and sent great artists to the field that have made the soldier feel he was back on Broadway almost.
With your energy sustained at the full our soldiers fighting in the Pacificand by soldiers I mean all fighting service, not merely land armies-the victory in Japan is certain. With overwhelming force it will come all the more speedily. When that job is done there will be other problems facing you. Two of them I want to mention because they are related. They are jobs for men and peace in the world. Prosperous nations are not war hungry, but a hungry nation will always seek war if it has to in desperation.
We cannot be isolated from the world.
From New York to my headquarters in Frankfort it is exactly sixteen hours by air. You are that close to trouble all the time if trouble starts in Europe. It is to our interest to see that we are strong. To repeat a remark I made this noon: Weakness cannot cooperate with anything. Only strength can cooperate.
As I see it, peace is an absolute necessity to this world. Civilization itself, in the face of another catastrophe such as we have faced in the last three years-and for other nations more-would tremble, possibly decay and be destroyed. We must face those problems of peace with the same resolution that America showed in 1941 and 1942 when not the greatest optimist could believe that within eleven months after landing in Normandy the American arms and allied arms would stand triumphant on the Elbe.
I believe that we should let no specious argument of any kind deter us from exploring every direction in which peace can be maintained. I believe we should be strong, but we should be tolerant. We should be ready to defend our rights, but we should be considerate and recognize the rights of the other man. This business of preserving peace is a practical thing, but practicality and idealism are not necessarily mutually antagonistic. We can be idealistic and we can be practical along with it.
You have great hospitals in your city that are filled with wounded men. I call them "my wounded men, they came back from my theater." I don't want to see any more of them there.
I feel that if the brains and the intelligence, the genius of America are placed on this problem, if we can forget self, if we can forget politics, if we can forget personal ambitions we can solve this problem, and we must solve the problem or we will all be lost.
No man can tell me that America with its glorious mixture of creeds, its Jews, its Catholics, its Protestants-it cannot lose, and we can't lose this one. [6]


To cadets of the United States Military Academy at West Point, N. Y., June 20:

The major thought I bring you today is to cultivate mutual understanding with anyone you think you have to get along with-in my mind that meaning the whole civilized world.
If we stick together, we can lick anyone we have to fight. If we stick together intelligently with other peoples in the world, we won't have to fight?

At the Liberty Memorial, Kansas City, Mo., June 21:

For many months, even years, my associates present with me here today, and myself, have been wandering on foreign lands. We have returned home. We have come back to the great Midwest, the most fortunate region under God's blue sky. The world today needs two things: Moral leadership and food. The United States with its great strength and its prosperity is forced, even if unwillingly, into a position of leadership.
Here is the great producing area of the world. Great sections are starving. My associates and I have just left starving areas. We have had to feed them from the day of invasion. Otherwise we would have had riots and disorder in our rear. In spite of floods, in spite of drought, every handicap that can be imagined, this country must produce food. Without it, there will be no peace. At the best there will be an uneasy cessation of hostilities. We cannot stand that. We must have peace and among other things that means we must have food. The eyes of the world, therefore, are going to turn more and more to the great Midwest of America, with Kansas City at its heart.
The United States must be strong. Weakness can never cooperate with anyone else in this world. No one can cooperate unless he is strong. If he is weak, he can be either only pitied or helped.
The possibility of war in the future is so terrifying as to make almost any other force seem reprehensible. What we must see is this: Explore every possible direction by which peace can be maintained through our own strength and through agreements with others. To do that we must be considerate, we must understand the other fellow's viewpoint.
I am merely a simple soldier and I speak only for myself and for the soldiers that I know in general agree with me. They believe, first, that America must be strong and its youth must be trained; second, it must be ready to cooperate in a spirit of mutual tolerance and readiness to see the other fellow live in the world, and, third, it must live by those righteous principles that are imbedded in our country's Constitution and which have made you great. . .

At Eisenhower park, Abilene, June 22:

Because no man is really a man who has left out of himself all of the boy, I want to speak first of the dreams of a barefoot boy. Frequently they are to be a streetcar conductor; or he sees himself as the town policeman; above all he may reach the position of locomotive engineer, but always in his dreams


is that day when finally he comes home, comes home to a welcome from his own home town.
Because today that dream of forty-five years or more ago has been realized beyond the wildest stretches of my own imagination I come here first to thank you, to say the proudest thing I can claim is that I am from Abilene.
The first and most important part of the celebration today from my viewpoint was this: I was not set apart, I was merely another "Abilenite," . My position was merely a symbol of the forces over there, and you people put on a special thing to say to those soldiers, "Thank you." That is the way I look at today's celebration.
The parade itself was so unique in conception that . . . I want to extend not only my felicitations and admiration, but my very great thanks. . . . I cannot believe that there would be anything better for all the cities of the United States today than to see that parade.
In that parade a whole epoch passed before our eyes. Its beginnings were coincidental with the coming of my own father and mother to this section, in the days of the independent farm and the horse and buggy where each family was almost self-sustaining. Certainly the community was self-sustaining. We grew our corn and we grew our meat and we grew our own vegetables and the local mill ground the flour and we didn't have much connection with the outside world.
As you noticed the end of that parade you saw the most modern type of machinery. No longer was it necessary for farmers to join up with their neighbors to get in the crops and the harvest, to carry out the round-up, to get the house built.
We have become mechanized. No longer are we here independent of the rest of the world.
We must sell our wheat and we must get things from the rest of the world. Our part is most important. There is nothing so important in the world today as food in a material way. Food is necessary all over Europe and must be sent to preserve the peace. In that way you see immediately your connection with the problems of Europe.
We are not isolationists. Intelligent people are not isolationists. We are a part of the great civilization of this world at this moment and every part of the world where a similar civilization prevails is part of us.
In a more definite way, since I am now a citizen of New York City [General Eisenhower was made an honorary citizen of New York, June 191, that city is part of you, one of your bigger suburbs. If we then see our relationship with the whole world, how much more intimate is it with our own United States. This section with its great agricultural products is so necessary to all of the big cities of the United States that I repeat nothing could be better for those cities than to have seen the parade today showing in its several floats the nature and volume of your products.
They would have no longer any trouble seeing that Abilene, Kan., is important to them, and New York would be more proud to be your suburb. Through national organizations we cooperate with others in this world. It


is through that conception that we hope to preserve the peace, and we cannot have any more wars.
If we are going to cooperate effectively we must first be united among ourselves. We must understand our relationship with the big city and they with us, and then as a whole we must be strong enough to present our own case in a dignified way before the councils of the world.
President Truman's hands must be upheld at all times by the knowledge that back of him are united people ready and trained to do his bidding if it becomes necessary.
Through this world it has been my fortune or misfortune to wander at considerable distances. Never has this town been outside my heart and my memory. Here are some of my oldest and dearest friends. Here are men that helped me start my own career and helped my son start his. Here are people that are lifelong friends of my mother and my late father-the really two great individuals of the Eisenhower family.
They raised six boys and they made sure that each had an upbringing at home and an education that equipped him to gain a respectable place in his own profession, and I think it is fair to say they all have.
They and their families are the products of the loving care, the labor and work of my father and mother-just another average Abilene family.
One more word. There was one thing in the parade today that was an error. A number of times I saw a sign, "Welcome to our hero." As I before mentioned, I am not the hero. I am the symbol of the heroic men you people and all of the United States have sent to war.
It has been my great honor to command three million American men and women in Europe.
All those people from Dickinson county could not come back at one time. Therefore, a celebration like this I fully realize cannot be held for the return of each. But in the sum total, if you, as a community, accept each one of those men back to your heart as you have me, not only will you be doing for them the one thing they desire, but for my part you will earn my eternal gratitude. Every one of those men is precious to me, and each one coming back does not want special treatment, he doesn't want to be supported for life. The initiative, the self-dependence that made him great as a soldier he expects to exercise in peace. But he does want to be received in the same friendly spirit you received me. I know you will do it, not as part of your war duty, but out of the greatness of your heart and the warmth of your affection for soldiers that have laid everything on the line for us, even their lives.
And now on the part of myself and my wife, my brothers and all their families, I want to say thanks to Kansas, to Dickinson county, and to Abilene for a reception that so far exceeds anything any of us could imagine. All of us are practically choked with emotion. Good luck, and God bless every one of you. [9]

[Letter from Dwight Eisenhower, thanking Senator Bristow for his appointment to West Point.]

Letter From Eisenhower Thanking Senator Bristow For his Appointment to West Point.

[Second page of letter from Dwight Eisenhower, thanking Senator Bristow for his appointment to West Point.]



General Eisenhower's father, David J., came to Kansas from his native state, Pennsylvania. He attended Lane University at Lecompton, where he met Ida Elizabeth Stover, native of Virginia, whom he married September 23, 1885. [10] They moved to Hope, Dickinson county, and Mr. Eisenhower operated a general store there until 1888, when he went to Texas to work for a railroad. [11] His wife and two sons, Arthur and Edgar, soon followed. [12] They were living at Denison, Tex., when Dwight was born October 14, 1890. A short while later the family returned to Kansas and made their home in Abilene. Four more sons were born here: Roy, Paul, Earl and Milton. In 1942 David J. Eisenhower died at Abilene. Paul and Roy are also deceased. Surviving are the mother, who at eighty-three still lives in the home where her family was reared, and five of the boys.

General Eisenhower was christened David Dwight. He attended the Abilene schools and was graduated from high school in 1909. As a student he was above the average and took an active part in sports and dramatics. The Abilene Daily Reflector of May 28, 1909, reporting on the senior play, a burlesque of "The Merchant of Venice," said: "Dwight Eisenhower as Gobbo won plenty of applause and deserved it. He was the best amateur humorous character seen on the Abilene stage in this generation and gave an impression that many professionals fail to reach."

In the fall of 1910 Dwight wrote to U. S. Sen. Joseph L. Bristow at Salina for "an appointment to West Point or Annapolis." [13] He received a preliminary examination in the office of the Kansas state superintendent of public instruction at Topeka, October 4 and 5, 1910.

He was second highest among eight competitors with a grade of 87¼. His lowest mark was 73 in United States history! [14] He took the entrance examination at Jefferson Barracks near Saint Louis in January, 1911, and reported to West Point the following June. [15] Eisenhower was graduated in 1915 and was assigned to the Nineteenth infantry at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Here he met Mamie


Doud, of Denver and San Antonio, whom he married July 1, 1916. [15] During the first World War he remained in the United States as an instructor. He applied for duty with the newly-activated tank corps and taught tank tactics. It is reported that he was scheduled to sail for France when the armistice was signed.

After the war Eisenhower's assignments included the Panama canal zone, the Command and General Staff School at Leavenworth, the American Battle Monuments Commission, and the War College. From 1935 to 1939 he served under Gen. Douglas MacArthur as a member of the American military commission to the Philippines. In 1941 his brilliant work as chief of staff of the third army during the Louisiana maneuvers led to his appointment as chief of the war plans division in Washington.

On June 24, 1942, General Eisenhower took command of American troops in Europe. He headed the staff of British and American officers who planned the campaign in North Africa, which was invaded by the American army November 7, 1942. At the Casablanca conference, January, 1943, he was made commander-in-chief of the allied forces in the North African theater of operations. By May, 1943, Tunisia was in allied hands. This was followed by the invasions of Sicily and Italy.

At the Teheran conference in December, 1943, he was appointed supreme commander for the final allied invasion of Europe. The first landings were made in Normandy June 6, 1944, and eleven months later Germany unconditionally surrendered. President Roosevelt's nomination of General Eisenhower as one of the four five-star generals of the army was unanimously confirmed by the senate on December 15, 1944.


As this issue was going to press it was announced that on July 21 the Kansas secretary of state had granted a charter to "The National Foundation to Honor Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and the United States Armed Forces."

Headquarters of the foundation are to be at Abilene. Its policy as stated in the charter is "to recognize suitably the military achievements of that great American, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of the victorious armed forces in Europe; to confer honor on the living members and on the memory of the deceased members of the armed forces of the United States, particularly the men and women who served in World War II; to obtain a site, erect and main


tain thereon in General Eisenhowr's home town, Abilene, Kans., a war memorial to those ends; to aid worthy young persons in gaining an education, with a special emphasis on the science of government as conceived by our fathers; to assist veterans of World War II, and to perform such acts inbcidental to the above as the board of trustees of the foundation shall elect."

The proposed memorial will center around the Eisenhower family at Abilene, which will be a gift of the Eisenhower brothers. Mrs. Ida Eisenhower, their mother, will continue to occupy the home during her lifetime. General Eisenhower has promised to leave his sourvenirs with the foundation.

Charles M. Harger, Abilene publisher and long- time friend, will handle the affairs of the foundation until officers and a board of trustees are elected.


1. New York Times, "Late City Edition," May 9, 1945, p. 10.
2. Ibid.; From D-Day Through Victory in Europe (New York, Columbia Broadcasting System, 1945), pp. 249-250.
3. New York Times, June 13, 1945, p. 4.
4. Ibid., June 15, 1945, p. 5.
5. Congressional Record, Washington, June 18, 1945, pp. 6352-6354; New York Times, June 19, 1945, p. 4.
6. Ibid., June 20, 1045, p. 0.
7. Ibid., June 21, 1945, pp. 1, 21.
8. Kansas City Times, June 22, 1945; New York Times, June 22, p. 5.
9. Kansas City Star, June 22, 1945.
10. Lecompton Monitor, September 24, 1885.
11. Hope Herald, October 18, 1888.
12. Hope Dispatch, April 12, 1889.
13. Dwight Eisenhower to Senator Bristow, August 20, September 3, October 25, 1910. Bristow Papers, in Archives division, Kansas Historical Society.
14. Memorandum in ibid.
15. Eisenhower to Bristow, March 25, 1911. Ibid.
15. They have one son, John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower, who was born at Denver in 1922. He was appointed to West Point by Sen. Arthur Capper and was graduated in 1944.