His statue, in his Army uniform, dominates the grounds. When we toured the museum, we thought it focused more on his generalship than his presidency. And Eisenhower somehow didn’t seem quite real. In President Harry S. Truman’s library, the visitor meets the man. Truman seems human. Ike, on the other hand, seems a monument. Getting at the real person behind that famous grin is difficult.
Ike, his wife Mamie and their son Doud Dwight, nicknamed Icky, are interred in the Place of Meditation on the museum’s grounds.
I am not at all fond of the International Style of architecture, finding it hopelessly bland and uninteresting, but I absolutely cannot resist a pattern. Ironically, Abilene is full of wonderful Victorian architecture, but its two most prominent structures, the Eisenhower Museum and Library and the Dickinson County Courthouse, were both built in that dreadful, boxy, soulless style.
A fence separates the foyer from the Eisenhowers’ gravesite.
A fountain made from copper leaves falls into a small pool. The sound is very soothing and, as probably intended, acts as an aid to quiet contemplation.
We paid our respects to the Eisenhowers, then visited the chapel attached to the grave site.
A low marble wall divides the grave site from the small chapel, fitted with stained-glass windows designed and installed by Kansas native Odell Prather. I really prefer windows that are a picture of something, but these were beautiful, as was the light they cast. It seemed a good place to rest and meditate, but closing time was drawing near.
Even though Ike himself seems elusive, his life’s work is truly monumental.GHTime Code(s): e6981 e7408