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The Latest Eisenhower Memorial Design Features ‘Doodle-Like Sketch’ Of Normandy

Eisenhower Memorial Commission/ the National Capital Planning Commission

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Thomas Phippen Associate Editor
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The proposed design of the Dwight D. Eisenhower memorial features a 447 foot long, 80 foot high “doodle-like sketch” of the Normandy beach, as architects and planners hope to begin the actual process of constructing the long-awaited monument.

The Eisenhower Memorial Commission will hang a mock-up of the latest design of the ill-received memorial to the 34th president Sept. 20, the first time an example of the tapestry will be hung on the future site of the monument since 2011.

“The tapestry design now consists of a doodle-like sketch of Point du Hoc on the Normandy coast,” the National Civic Art Society said in a press release announcing the mock-up. “This is a major change from the prior design, which was a more photorealistic rendering of the coast.”

The Point du Hoc tapestry takes a central place in the overall Eisenhower memorial, which spans nearly four acres across Independence Avenue from the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The arrangement “invites visitors to learn about Normandy and the location of one of Eisenhower’s greatest achievements” as Supreme Allied Commander who presided over D-Day and the invasion of Normandy, the EMC said in a detailed description of the new monument design.

“Normandy symbolically remains a powerful reminder of the sacrifices of D-Day and how this pivotal event lead to peace and shaped our nation’s history in the years that followed,” the EMC said.

The tapestry was initially supposed to be a panorama depicting Abilene, Ks., Eisenhower’s home town. That tapestry was one of many controversial aspects of monument when the initial designs were released in 2011.

After many complaints, the memorial committees and federal park authorities worked with architect Frank Gehry to change the design to an aerial view of Normandy.

Previously proposed images of Normandy, France for the Eisenhower memorial (National Capital Planning Commission)

Previously proposed images of Normandy, France for the Eisenhower memorial (National Capital Planning Commission)

The Eisenhower memorial finally received $45 million funding in May, after years of being blocked in the appropriations process. Fifty-eight retired generals and admirals sent a letter to Congress last fall opposing the design, and the Eisenhower family has also petitioned the memorial commission to delay the project to “significantly changing the concept, scale, and scope of the memorial.”

The commission intends to complete the memorial by June 6, 2019, the 75th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy.

The EMC is presenting the proposed memorial designs, which include a new sculpture of young Eisenhower, to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts at a meeting Sept. 20 for approval.

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