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A visit to the Dwight David Eisenhower Presidential Museum & Library

sunny 72 °F

(Thursday) The drive to Abilene, KS from Kansas City, MO took about 3 hrs over rolling Kansas prairie land. One could picture the wagon trains trudging along over these prairie hills and valleys with a constant eye out for the hazards of rattlesnakes and Indians. Only the hardy survived the torturous journey, whether it was to Oregon, Sante Fe, NM or California. Each destination had its unique challenges.
Abilene has quite a history. Five years after Kansas became a State (1861) Abeline was a railroad stop (no passenger station) for the Kansas Pacific Railway. A few log cabins, a business or two, a saloon (of course), and a 6 room hotel. A man by the name of Joseph McCoy convinced the railroad authorities to stop at a depot if he built a stockyard to hold for rail shipment the steers driven to Abeline by cowboys from Texas.. The gamble paid off for in a 5 yr. period over 2,000,000 cattle were handled in the Abeline stockyards. The cattle drives from Texas to Abeline were along the famous 'Chisholm Trail'. The very land that the Eisenhowers purchased, farmed, and lived on was at one time a cattle pen for longhorns arriving from Texas. Prior to Ike's birth the town of Abeline had a law deputy named 'Wild Bill Hickok" who was hired to keep things in check. He had to kill a few men to get things under control for it was a wild cowboy town. After President Eisenhower retired to his Gettysburg, PA farm he began raising a herd of Aberdeen (a breed) Angus catttle. He was always proud to be called "The Man From Abilene".

Dwight Eisenhower was raised in a modest home in Abeline with 5 brothers. All 6 were strongly encouraged by their parents to get a college education and all did. For example: ARTHUR, a banker became an executive of Commerce Trust Co., EDGAR studied law at the University of Michigan and founded his own law firm in Washington state, DWIGHT graduated from West Point Military Academy, became a 5-star General of the US Army, President of Columbia University, NYC, and President of the United States, ROY graduated as a Pharmacist and owned a drug store in Junction City, KS, EARL graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in electrical engineering, MILTON received a degree from Kansas State Agricultural College, became president of Kansas State University, Penn State University and Johns Hopkins University. During his brother's administrations he served as advisor on Latin America affairs. They did pretty well for small town boys!
Dwight's West Point graduating class of 1915 produced more future General Officers than any other class in the history of the US Military Academy. Of the 164 cadets, there were 24 Brigadier Generals (1 star), 24 Major Generals (2 stars), 7 Lieutenant Generals (3 stars), 2 Full Generals (4 stars), 2 Generals of the Army (5 stars), and those were Dwight Eisenhower and Omar Bradley. Many of their classmates commanded divisions, corps, and armies in the European Theatre of Operations. Pretty impressive!
The Museum grounds contain a Visitor Center/Gift Shop (of course) which shows a 20 minute film on the Eisenhower family and their humble roots. Leaving there one goes onto the peaceful grounds where his boyhood home stands. A docent gives gave an informative tour, then we visitors proceeded to the Museum building. In the large stone structure it tells of the life history of Dwight Eisenhower. Opposite in a matching stone building is the Eisenhower Library for researchers and historians. Overlooking the museum landscape is a large bronze statue of General of the Armies, Dwight D. Eisenhower in service uniform.
The story from his boyhood in Abilene to West Point is told. Then further, to his various military assignments from graduation in 1915 to 1941 when he was called to Washington by General George Marshall to join his war planning staff. Ike's advancement from a Lieutenant Colonel to Brigadier General in a matter of 18 months is meteoric. Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to 4-Star General as Supreme Allied Commander for the European Theatre of Military Operations. Pictures, letters of correspondence, military artifacts all tell of his war years experiences. His time as President of Columbia University and nomination for President of the United States are chronicled, as well. Ike's presidential initiatiatives and achievements are displayed in detail. I spent 4 hours there before being escorted out (just kidding) at 5:00 pm. He was a General 'Of the Troops and For the Troops' and I always admired him for that. Glad I came to experience it all.

Posted by dixter 19:19 Archived in USA Tagged museum eisenhower

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