|Interment Location||Visited||Sequence in Graves I Have Visited|
|Abilene, KS||August 12, 2009||35th President visited|
Receiving the Kansan crowd that welcomed him home after the victory in the European Theater in World War II, General Dwight D. Eisenhower opined, “the proudest thing I can claim is that I am from Abilene.” 24 years later, the man who served as supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, supreme commander of NATO, and president of the United States returned to Abilene once more to be laid to rest. He is entombed inside the Place of Meditation that stands within view of his boyhood house on the grounds of the Eisenhower Presidential Library.
Former President Eisenhower is joined in the sunken crypt by his wife of 52 years, Mamie, and their elder son, Doud Dwight. Dwight and Mamie’s vaults are covered by marble slabs with simple plaques at their feet. The sepulcher is partially surrounded by travertine walls upon which quotes from three of the general’s most noted speeches are displayed. A small fountain trickles water at the head of the graves, between the flags of the United States and Kansas.
The dimensions of the three bronze markers, like the one shown here for the former president, measure 11 3/4″ x 8″ x 3/4″.
Eisenhower became a household name during the Second World War by commanding the Allied Expeditionary Force and heading Operation Overlord to invade Axis-occupied Europe. In 1952, running on the campaign “I Like Ike” which bore his lifelong nickname, Eisenhower became the first Republican to win the White House since Herbert Hoover 24 years prior. His two terms as president were marked by fights for racial justice, Senator Joseph McCarthy’s crusade against communism, escalation in the Cold War, a rise in consumerism, and the establishment of an interstate highway system that enhanced U.S. transportation but further marginalized communities of color.
Born: October 14, 1890 in Denison, Texas
Spouse: Mamie Geneva Doud Eisenhower (m. 1916-1969)
Highest Military Rank: General of the Army — U.S. Army
Political Affiliation: Republican Party
Presidential Term: 1953-1961
Vice President: Richard Nixon
Died: March 28, 1969 in Washington, D.C.
Cause of Death: Heart Attack
Last Words: “I’m ready to go. God, take me”
Interment: Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum & Boyhood Home, Abilene, Kansas
"I believe as long as we allow conditions to exist that make for second-class citizens, we are making of ourselves less than first-class citizens.
"In other words, I believe the only way to protect my own rights is to protect the rights of others. "Everything that the Constitution accords to me, I must defend for others--or else finally there will be nobody left to defend me."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
May 19, 1953 in remarks at the United Negro College Fund luncheon held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Sources Consulted and Further Reading
Blakemore, Erin. “Interstate highways were touted as modern marvels. Racial injustice was part of the plan.” Washington Post. August 17, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2021/08/16/interstate-highways-were-touted-modern-marvels-racial-injustice-was-part-plan/.
Clark, Andrew. “Hail to the chiefs! A road trip to where our presidents took their last breaths.” Washington Post. February 14, 2013. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/liveblog/wp/2013/02/14/hail-to-the-chiefs-a-road-trip-to-where-our-presidents-took-their-last-breaths/.
Eisenhower, Dwight D. “Remarks at the United Negro College Fund Luncheon,” May 19, 1953. Transcript. From UC Santa Barbara, The American Presidency Project. https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/remarks-the-united-negro-college-fund-luncheon.
Eisenhowerlibrary.gov. “Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Final Post.” Updated May 7, 2021. https://www.eisenhowerlibrary.gov/eisenhowers/dwight-d-eisenhowers-final-post.
Kalb, Madeleine G. “The C.I.A. and Lumumba.” New York Times Magazine. August 2, 1981. Section 6, page 32. https://www.nytimes.com/1981/08/02/magazine/the-cia-and-lumumba.html.