Marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day and paying tribute to Eisenhower's leadership
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Seventy-five years ago, the scene across America and Europe was quite different than what we see today; thousands of people waving flags, dancing, hugging, kissing in the streets covered in confetti.

In the early morning hours of May 7, 1945, in the small town of Reims, France, Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Nazi Germany’s surrender and sent a cable to Washington and London stating the mission of the Allied Forces was fulfilled, thus ending the Nazi “pandemic” of tyranny and genocide.

The surrender took effect on May 8 and for the first time since 1941, the U.S. Capitol was bathed in light.

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Most military historians agree, it was Eisenhower’s unique skill and persuasion that enabled the allied effort to be successful.

As Winston Churchill said, “There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies and that is fighting without them.”

Simply put, Ike led the effort to preserve Western democracy and freedom and later, as president, America experienced eight years of peace and prosperity.

On this 75th anniversary of the victory in Europe, what we call VE Day, the Eisenhower Memorial Commission was set to dedicate the long-awaited presidential memorial to Dwight D. Eisenhower on the mall in our nation’s capital.

Eisenhower once said, “plans may end up as worthless, but planning is everything,” how right he was! The Commission has set aside our plans for the dedication and is now planning a worthy ceremony in the fall.

And, there is precedent for this delay. Just as America is pulling together to fight to defeat the novel coronavirus, the Eisenhower administration was working with the public and private sector until a vaccine was developed by Dr. Jonas Salk and disseminated throughout the country. Shortly thereafter an oral and more effective vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin. Today, polio is virtually eradicated. Today, we face the same challenge.

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The Eisenhower Memorial, which pays tribute to Ike’s leadership as both Supreme Allied Commander and the 34th president of the United States is located on the National Mall, not only honoring an extraordinary man, but will also be a symbol for all generations of the promise of America and what our values make possible within our nation and around the world.

I can personally attest to the impact Eisenhower had on my life. My dad, Wes Roberts, was the Citizens for Ike Chairman during the 1952 campaign and instrumental in his first ballot victory over Sen. Robert A. Taft of Ohio. He later became national chairman of the Republican Party. At 16 years old, I was a wide-eyed sergeant of arms during the Chicago Convention and later attended Ike’s inaugural ceremonies in Washington. I met him both times. When he came into a room, even if you had your back to him, you knew he was there. Ike had a ruddy complexion and a great and wonderful smile. Everyone he met liked Ike!

I have now come full circle, serving as the Chairman of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission.

I know there will be dancing in our streets again and that we will be able to live our lives freely and safely just as Ike and the greatest generation fought to secure. And, we will dedicate the memorial to Kansas’ favorite son and one of our greatest presidents. Ike never gave up and neither will we.

For more information on future dedication plans on the memorial, follow @IStillLikeIke.

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