KanColl: The Kansas  Historical Quarterlies

General Eisenhower of Kansas

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

     IN June, 1945, Dwight David Eisenhower, supremecommander of the allied armies inEurope, returned to the United States for the first time after the victory inEurope. As the executive who welded more than five million men and women into aunified 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 werebestowed upon him. On the 21st he came home for a visit with members of hisfamily, including his mother and four brothers. He stayed in Abilene two days andwas welcomed in a celebration that demonstrated the pride and affection of hisfellow Kansans.

     On June 22 Abilene and Dickinson county held anold-fashioned, non-military,rural parade, featuring scenes and incidents of the Abilene Eisenhower had knownas 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 hereturned East for a brief vacation. In July he returned to Europe, where on July14 he dissolved supreme headquarters of the allied expeditionary force, andresumed his duties as supreme commander of the American sector and Americanrepresentative on the allied control commission for Germany.


     Winston Churchill has described GeneralEisenhower as a "creative, constructiveand combining genius." No soldier ever returned from war in greater glory or withthe gratitude of so many lands and peoples. Unlike many heroes of history, hisconduct since V-E day has added to his stature. Surrounded by adulation, hisspeeches have been notable for humility and common sense, as thefollowing extracts show. Only a few of these speeches were set addresses. Mostwere extemporaneous, although nearly all were broadcast and all were fullyreported.



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

     The crusade on which we embarked in the earlysummer of 1944 has reached itsglorious conclusion. It is my especial privilege, in the name of all nationsrepresented in this theater of war, to commend each of you for the valiantperformance of duty.
Though these words are feeble, they come from the bottom of a heart overflowingwith pride in your loyal service and admiration for you as warriors. Youraccomplishments at sea, in the air, on the ground and in the field of supply haveastonished the world.
Even before the final week of the conflict you had put 5,000,000 of the enemypermanently out of the war. You have taken in stride military tasks so difficultas to be classed by many doubters as impossible. You have confused, defeated anddestroyed your savagely fighting foe. On the road to victory you have enduredevery discomfort and privation and have surmounted every obstacle ingenuity anddesperation could throw in your path. You did not pause until our front wasfirmly joined up with the great Red army coming from the east and other alliedforces coming from the south.
Full victory in Europe has been attained. Working and fighting together in singleand indestructible partnership you have achieved a perfection in the unificationof 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 offormer comrades. From them have been exacted the ultimate sacrifice. The blood ofmany nations-American, British, Canadian, French, Polish and others-has helped togain the victory. Each of the fallen died as a member of a team to which youbelong, bound together by a common love of liberty and a refusal to submit toenslavement. No monument of stone, no memorial of whatever magnitude could sowell express our respect and veneration for their sacrifice as would theperpetuation of the spirit of comradeship in which they died.
As we celebrate victory in Europe let us remind ourselves that our commonproblems of the immediate and distant future can be best solved in the sameconceptions of cooperation and devotion to the cause of human freedom as havemade this expeditionary force such a mighty engine of righteous destruction. Letus have no part in the profitless quarrels in which other men will inevitablyengage as to what country and what service won the European war.
Every man and every woman of every nation here represented has served accordingto his or her ability and efforts and each has contributed to the outcome. Thiswe shall remember and in doing so we shall be revering each honored grave and besending 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 principalsubordinates in this theateris to present a picture of the utmost in loyalty, skill, selflessness andefficiency. The United Nations will gratefully remember Tedder, Bradley,Montgomery, Ramsey, Spaatz, DeLattre, and countlessothers.

     But all these agree with me in the selection of atruly heroic man of this war.
He is GI Joe and his counterpart in the air, the navy and the merchant marine ofevery one of the United Nations. He has surmounted the dangers of U-boat infestedseas, of bitter battles in the air, of desperate charges into defended beaches,of tedious, dangerous fighting against the ultimate in fortified zones. He hasuncomplainingly endured cold, mud, fatigue. His companion has been danger, anddeath has trailed his footsteps. He and his platoon and company leaders havegiven to us a record of gallantry, loyalty, devotion to duty and patientendurance that will warm our hearts for as long as those qualities excite ouradmiration.
So history's mightiest machine of conquest has been utterly destroyed. Thedeliberate design of brutal, worldwide rape by the German nation, absorbed fromthe diseased brain of Hitler, has met the fate decreed for it by outragedjustice.
Some of us will stay here to police the areas of the nation that we haveconquered, so that systems of justice and of order may prevail. Some will becalled upon to participate in the Pacific war, but some-and I trust ineverincreasing numbers-will soon experience the joy of returning home. I speakfor the more than three million Americans in this theater in saying that when weare so fortunate as to come back to you, there need be no welcoming parades, nospecial celebrations. All we ask is to come back into the warmth of the hearts weleft behind and resume once more pursuits of peace, under our own Americanperceptions of liberty and of right, in which our beloved country has alwaysdwelt?

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

     The high sense of distinction I feel in receivingthis great honor from thecity of London is inescapably mingled with feelings of profound sadness. All ofus must always regret that your great country and mine were ever faced with thetragic 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 theblood of his followers and the sacrifices of his friends. Conceivably a commandermay have been professionally superior. He may have given everything of his heartand mind to meet the spiritual and physical needs of his comrades. He may havewritten 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 honorscannot 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 fatherwill not return.
The only attitude in which a commander may with satisfaction receive the tributesof his friends is in the humble acknowledgment that no matter how unworthy he maybe his position is the symbol of great human forces that have labored arduouslyand successfully for a righteous cause. Unless he feels


this symbolism and this rightness in what he has tried to do, then he isdisregardful of courage, fortitude and devotion of the vast multitudes he hasbeen honored to command. If all allied men and women that have served with me inthis war can only know that it is they whom this august body is really honoringtoday, then indeed I will be content.
This feeling of humility cannot erase, of course, my great pride in beingtendered the freedom of London. I am not a native of this land. I come from thevery heart of America. In the superficial aspects by which we ordinarilyrecognize family relationships, the town where I was born and the one where I wasreared 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 greatLondon.
By your standards those towns are young, without your aged traditions that carrythe roots of London back into the uncertainties of unrecorded history. To thosepeople I am proud to belong.
But I find myself today 5,000 miles from that countryside, the honored guest of acity whose name stands for grandeur and size throughout the world. Hardly wouldit seem possible for the London council to have gone farther afield to find a manto honor with its priceless gift of token citizenship.
Yet kinship among nations is not determined in such measurements as proximity ofsize and age. Rather we should turn to those inner things--call them what youwill-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 speakand act as he sees fit, subject only to provisions that he trespass not uponsimilar 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 thefarms of Kansas and the plains of Texas. To my mind it is clear that when twopeoples will face the tragedies of war to defend the same spiritual values, thesame treasured rights, then in the deepest sense those two are truly related. Soeven as I proclaim my undying Americanism, I am bold enough and exceedingly proudto claim the basis of kinship to you of London.
And what man who has followed the history of this war could fail to experience aninspiration from the example of this city?
When the British Empire stood-alone but unconquered, almost naked but unafraid-todeny the Hitler hordes, it was on this devoted city that the first terroristicblows were launched.
Five years and eight months of war, much of it on the actual battle line, blitzesbig 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 fromyour midst arose no cry for mercy, no wail of defeat. The Battle of Britain willtake its place as another of your deathless traditions. And your faith andendurance have finally been rewarded.
You had been more than two years in war when Americans in numbers began swarminginto your country. Most were mentally unprepared for the realities ofwar-especially as waged by the Nazis. Others believed that the tales of Britishsacrifice had been exaggerated. Still others failed to recognize the difficultiesof 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 couldnot endure a single casualtour through your scarred streets and avenues. With awe our men gazed upon theempty spaces where once had stood buildings erected by the toil and sweat ofpeaceful folk. Our eyes rounded as we saw your women, serving quietly andefficiently in almost every kind of war effort, even with flak batteries. Webecame accustomed to the warning sirens which seemed to compel from the nativeLondoner not even a single hurried step. Gradually we drew closer together untilwe became true partners in war.
In London my associates and I planned two great expeditions-that to inwade theMediterranean and later that to cross the channel. London's hospitality to theAmericans, her good-humored acceptance of the added inconvenience we brought, herexample of fortitude and quiet confidence in the ' final outcome-all thesehelped to make the supreme headquarters of the two allied expeditions thesmooth-working organizations they became.
They were composed of chosen representatives of two proud and independentpeoples, each noted for its initiative and for its satisfaction with its owncustoms, manners and methods. Many feared that those representatives could nevercombine together in an efficient fashion to solve the complex problems I gpresented by modern war.
I hope you believe we proved the doubters wrong. And, moreover, I hold that weproved this point not only for war-we proved it can always be done by our twopeoples, provided only that both show the same good will, the same forbearance,the same objective attitude that the British and Americans so amply demonstratedin the nearly three years of bitter campaigning.
No man could alone have brought about this result. Had I possessed the militaryskill of a Marlborough, the wisdom of Solomon the understanding ofLincoln, I still would have been helpless without the loyalty, vision andgenerosity 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 manyothers 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 andmilitary staffs that supported and encouraged us through every trial, every test.The whole was one great team. I know that on this special occasion 3,000,000American men and women serving in the allied expeditionary force would want me topay a tribute of admiration, respect and affection to their British comrades ofthis 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 fromtheir peaceful pursuits to face the tragedies of battle. But-a fact important forboth of us to remember-neither London nor Abilene, sisters under the skin, willsell her birthright for physical safety, her liberty for mere existence.No petty differences in the world of trade, traditions or national prideshould ever blind us to our identities in priceless values.
If we keep our eyes on this guidepost, then no difficulties along our path ofmutual cooperation can ever be insurmountable. Moreover, when this truth haspermeated to the remotest hamlet and heart of all peoples, thenindeed


may we beat our swords into plowshares and all nations can enjoy thefruitfulness of the earth.
My Lord Mayor, I thank you once again for an honor to me and to the Americanforces 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 ofdebt to every nation in Europe. There is the blood of every nation of Europe inAmerica. There may have been differences-you [to Gen. Charles de Gaulle] and Ihave had some. But let us bring our troubles to each other frankly and face themtogether.
I hope that America will be friendly with every nation in Europe. If ever I haveto 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,June18:

     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 anAmerican. I stand before the elected federal lawmakers of our great Republic, thevery core of our political life and a symbol of those things we call the Americanheritage. To preserve that heritage, more than three million of our citizens, atyour behest, have faced resolutely every terror the ruthless Nazi could devise. Icome before you as the representativethe commander-of those three millionAmerican men and women, to whom you desire to pay America's tribute for militaryvictory. In humble realization that they, who earned your commendation, shouldproperly be here to receive it, I am nevertheless proud and honored to be youragent in conveying it to them.
I have seen the American proved on battlegrounds of America and Europe over whicharmies have been fighting for 2,000 years of recorded history. None of thosebattlefields has seen a more worthy soldier than the trained American.
The American fighting man has never failed to recognize his dependence upon youat home. . . . I hope you realize that all you have done for your soldiers hasbeen truly appreciated.
The battlefront and the home front; together we have found the victoryl But eventhe banners of triumph cannot hide from our sight the sacrifices in which victoryhas been bought. The hard task of a commander is to send men into battle knowingsome of them-often many-must be killed or wounded in order that necessarymissions may be achieved.
It is a soul-killing task! My sorrow is not only for the fine young lives lost orbroken, but it is equally for the parents, the wives and the friends who havebeen bereaved. The price they pay is possibly the greatest.
The blackness of their grief can be relieved only by the faith that all thisshall not happen again!
Because I feel this so deeply I hope you will let me attempt to express a thoughtthat I believe is today imbedded deep in the hearts of allfighting


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

     Mr. Mayor and New Yorkers:
As my first act as a citizen of the City of New York I want to issue to the mayora word of warning. New York simply cannot do this to a Kansas farmer boy and keepits reputation for sophistication. . . .
There is another thing, Mr. Mayor, that impressed me very much as you and I rodedown through the cheering throngs this morning: First, the reason for thecheering-it was not because one individual, one American, came back from war; itis rejoicing that a nasty job is done-one nasty job is finished. The Nazi hasbeen placed where he won't harm us for a little while, anyway. How much betterwould 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 fromEurope are stirred by the reception from New York is the rankest kind ofunderstatement.
We have beheld scenes today that we didn't know were possible. Time and again inthe tour of the city with the mayor I felt, and I know that mycom-


rades felt, that we would almost have to stop. This wasn't the kind of thing towhich we were accustomed. We were simple soldiers coming home from the warsmerely seeking the warmth again of America after what we had been through inEurope.
But the emotion stirred by seeing people that would ordinarily be termedstrangers showing to us the warrants of friendship in such an unmistakable way asto fill our hearts to overflowing and practically to bring tears to our eyes. Itwas 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 ofthe army brought to my mind by the wonderful commendation given to me personallybetween 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, tothe grotesque shapes that are left there for the burying squads-he doesn't wantwar. He never wants it. He is an agent of his government to do a necessary andvery desperate task. And it is to the welfare of the United States always to seethat they have people studying those things and ready in emergency to do what theregular officer has done in this war, namely, furnish the technical leadershipfor the tactical, applied tactical power of a whole nation.
These tributes that were brought to me and to my comrades brought a curious ideato my head-I don't mean curious, I mean it was one I hadn't thought of before. Itwas this: Why shouldn't America as represented by New York-and I thoroughly agreethat New York is representative of America-why shouldn't New York be celebratingwhat it has done? Don't ever let any one sell short what America has done in thiswar. Not only has it been the arsenal of democracy, it has furnished some of thebest fighting divisions, the best air forces and the best navy that this war hasproduced.
America's record in production and on the battle line is one that will fill ourhistories 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-confidenceis 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 thecrushing of the Nazi will never blind us to the task we still have in thePacific. The reason I bring this up at this moment is this-it is to your interestalways to remember it.
With the enormous quota that you have furnished for the battle lines you have atremendous interest in seeing that losses are minimized. Losses are minimized byproducing the most powerful machine that you can possibly crowd into a given areaof ground to defeat the enemy. If you apply overwhelming force losses for yourside are negligible.
That is what you must do in the Pacific-apply the maximum force that America iscapable of developing and you will win quickly and with the least losses. One ofthe things that you must remember particularly is production, because hererepresented in many of its forms, financial, industrial, economic, New York isthe heart of America. Production must be kept up because when a bomb can do thework let us not spend an American life for it.
But this connection of yours with the battle line is no impersonalthing.

[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 ourthinking. And you can do more than merely your share in producing the arms andequipment that save American lives.
There is a spiritual side to the soldier's life that is often starved. I mean hisopportunities for recreation for feeling close to his home folks. One of the waysthat that can be helped is through the entertainment sponsored by the USO. It issomething that deserves your support just exactly as does the Red Cross. Theyhave done magnificent work and sent great artists to the field that have made thesoldier feel he was back on Broadway almost.
With your energy sustained at the full our soldiers fighting in the Pacificand bysoldiers I mean all fighting service, not merely land armies-the victory in Japanis certain. With overwhelming force it will come all the more speedily. When thatjob is done there will be other problems facing you. Two of them I want tomention 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 warif 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 toour 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 threeyears-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 showedin 1941 and 1942 when not the greatest optimist could believe that within elevenmonths after landing in Normandy the American arms and allied arms would standtriumphant on the Elbe.
I believe that we should let no specious argument of any kind deter us fromexploring every direction in which peace can be maintained. I believe we shouldbe 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 andidealism are not necessarily mutually antagonistic. We can be idealistic and wecan be practical along with it.
You have great hospitals in your city that are filled with wounded men. I callthem "my wounded men, they came back from my theater." I don't want to see anymore of them there.
I feel that if the brains and the intelligence, the genius of America are placedon this problem, if we can forget self, if we can forget politics, if we canforget personal ambitions we can solve this problem, and we must solve theproblem 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., June20:

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

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

     For many months, even years, my associates present with me here today, andmyself, have been wandering on foreign lands. We have returned home. We have comeback 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 Stateswith its great strength and its prosperity is forced, even if unwillingly, into aposition of leadership.
Here is the great producing area of the world. Great sections are starving. Myassociates and I have just left starving areas. We have had to feed them from theday of invasion. Otherwise we would have had riots and disorder in our rear. Inspite of floods, in spite of drought, every handicap that can be imagined, thiscountry must produce food. Without it, there will be no peace. At the best therewill be an uneasy cessation of hostilities. We cannot stand that. We must havepeace 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, withKansas City at its heart.
The United States must be strong. Weakness can never cooperate with anyone elsein this world. No one can cooperate unless he is strong. If he is weak, he can beeither only pitied or helped.
The possibility of war in the future is so terrifying as to make almost any otherforce seem reprehensible. What we must see is this: Explore every possibledirection by which peace can be maintained through our own strength and throughagreements with others. To do that we must be considerate, we must understand theother fellow's viewpoint.
I am merely a simple soldier and I speak only for myself and for the soldiersthat I know in general agree with me. They believe, first, that America must bestrong and its youth must be trained; second, it must be ready to cooperate in aspirit of mutual tolerance and readiness to see the other fellow live in theworld, and, third, it must live by those righteous principles that are imbeddedin 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, Iwant to speak first of the dreams of a barefoot boy. Frequently they are to be astreetcar conductor; or he sees himself as the town policeman; above all he mayreach the position of locomotive engineer, but always in hisdreams


is that day when finally he comes home, comes home to a welcome from his ownhome town.
Because today that dream of forty-five years or more ago has been realized beyondthe wildest stretches of my own imagination I come here first to thank you, tosay 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 wasthis: I was not set apart, I was merely another "Abilenite," . My positionwas merely a symbol of the forces over there, and you people put on a specialthing to say to those soldiers, "Thank you." That is the way I look at today'scelebration.
The parade itself was so unique in conception that . . . I want to extend notonly my felicitations and admiration, but my very great thanks. . . . I cannotbelieve that there would be anything better for all the cities of the UnitedStates today than to see that parade.
In that parade a whole epoch passed before our eyes. Its beginnings werecoincidental with the coming of my own father and mother to this section, in thedays of the independent farm and the horse and buggy where each family was almostself-sustaining. Certainly the community was self-sustaining.We grew our corn and we grew our meat and we grew our own vegetables and thelocal mill ground the flour and we didn't have much connection with the outsideworld.
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 inthe 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 theworld.
We must sell our wheat and we must get things from the rest of the world. Ourpart is most important. There is nothing so important in the world today as foodin a material way. Food is necessary all over Europe and must be sent to preservethe peace. In that way you see immediately your connection with the problems ofEurope.
We are not isolationists. Intelligent people are not isolationists. We are a partof the great civilization of this world at this moment and every part of theworld where a similar civilization prevails is part of us.
In a more definite way, since I am now a citizen of New York City [GeneralEisenhower was made an honorary citizen of New York, June 191, that city is partof you, one of your bigger suburbs. If we then see our relationship with thewhole 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 thebig cities of the United States that I repeat nothing could be better for thosecities than to have seen the parade today showing in its several floats thenature and volume of your products.
They would have no longer any trouble seeing that Abilene, Kan., is important tothem, and New York would be more proud to be your suburb. Through nationalorganizations we cooperate with others in this world. It


is through that conception that we hope to preserve the peace, and we cannothave 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 thenas a whole we must be strong enough to present our own case in a dignified waybefore the councils of the world.
President Truman's hands must be upheld at all times by the knowledge that backof him are united people ready and trained to do his bidding if it becomesnecessary.
Through this world it has been my fortune or misfortune to wander at considerabledistances. Never has this town been outside my heart and my memory. Here are someof my oldest and dearest friends. Here are men that helped me start my own careerand helped my son start his. Here are people that are lifelong friends of mymother and my late father-the really two great individuals of the Eisenhowerfamily.
They raised six boys and they made sure that each had an upbringing at home andan 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 workof my father and mother-just another average Abilene family.
One more word. There was one thing in the parade today that was an error. Anumber of times I saw a sign, "Welcome to our hero." As I before mentioned, I amnot the hero. I am the symbol of the heroic men you people and all of the UnitedStates have sent to war.
It has been my great honor to command three million American men and women inEurope.
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 returnof each. But in the sum total, if you, as a community, accept each one of thosemen back to your heart as you have me, not only will you be doing for them theone 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 wantspecial treatment, he doesn't want to be supported for life. The initiative, theself-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 ofyour heart and the warmth of your affection for soldiers that have laideverything on the line for us, even their lives.
And now on the part of myself and my wife, my brothers and all their families, Iwant to say thanks to Kansas, to Dickinson county, and to Abilene for a receptionthat so far exceeds anything any of us could imagine. All of us are practicallychoked 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 toKansas from his native state,Pennsylvania. He attended Lane University at Lecompton, where he met IdaElizabeth Stover, native of Virginia, whom he married September 23, 1885. [10]They moved to Hope, Dickinson county, and Mr. Eisenhower operated a general storethere until 1888, when he went to Texas to work for a railroad. [11] His wife andtwo 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 familyreturned 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 andRoy are also deceased. Surviving are the mother, who at eighty-three still livesin the home where her family was reared, and five of the boys.

     General Eisenhower was christened David Dwight.He attended the Abilene schoolsand was graduated from high school in 1909. As a student he was above the averageand took an active part in sports and dramatics. The Abilene Daily Reflector ofMay 28, 1909, reporting on the senior play, a burlesque of "The Merchant ofVenice," said: "Dwight Eisenhower as Gobbo won plenty of applause and deservedit. He was the best amateur humorous character seen on the Abilene stage in thisgeneration 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 preliminaryexamination in the office of the Kansas state superintendent of publicinstruction at Topeka, October 4 and 5, 1910.

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


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

     After the war Eisenhower's assignments includedthe Panama canal zone, the Command and General Staff School at Leavenworth, theAmerican Battle MonumentsCommission, and the War College. From 1935 to 1939 he served under Gen. DouglasMacArthur as a member of the American military commission to the Philippines. In1941 his brilliant work as chief of staff of the third army during the Louisianamaneuvers led to his appointment as chief of the war plans division inWashington.

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

     At the Teheran conference in December, 1943, hewas appointed supreme commanderfor the final allied invasion of Europe. The first landings were made in NormandyJune 6, 1944, and eleven months later Germany unconditionally surrendered.President Roosevelt's nomination of General Eisenhower as one of the fourfive-star generals of the army was unanimously confirmed by the senate onDecember 15, 1944.


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

     Headquarters of the foundation are to be atAbilene. Its policy as stated in thecharter is "to recognize suitably the military achievements of that greatAmerican, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of the victorious armedforces in Europe; to confer honor on the living members and on the memory of thedeceased members of the armed forces of the United States, particularly the menand 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 memorialto those ends; to aid worthy young persons in gaining an education, with aspecial emphasis on the science of government as conceived by our fathers; toassist veterans of World War II, and to perform such acts inbcidental to theabove as the board of trustees of the foundation shall elect."

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

     Charles M. Harger, Abilene publisher and long-time friend, will handle the affairs of the foundation until officers and a boardof 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, ColumbiaBroadcasting 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; NewYork 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 State 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 in1922. He was appointed to West Point by Sen. Arthur Capper and was graduated in1944.

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