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I Like Ike! A Look at President Eisenhower

Chris Hauff Jul 13, 2020

Miss Clark’s Truly Historic Blog! July 24, 2020

I love to use dates to remind myself of many truly historic events! In fact, 1954 is one of my most favorite dates.  Why – because it was the year of my arrival in Norfolk, Virginia. As you may recall, Virginia is known as the birthplace of presidents so perhaps that explains my love of presidential history.

Dwight David Eisenhower was born in Texas on October 14, 1890.  His early years were spent in Abilene, Kansas where he was the third of seven sons. His family was extremely poor and he saw the military as a way out of that life. He received an appointment to West Point and made good grades.  He graduated in 1915 as a second lieutenant.

Eisenhower met his wife Mamie in Texas.  They married in 1916 and had two sons. The oldest child Doud Dwight died of scarlet fever at the age of three. Their second son John was born in 1922 and followed much in the footsteps of his father. (John Eisenhower lived to be 91 years young.)

Because WWI ended before Eisenhower was to leave for Europe, he received an appointment to the Command and General Staff College where he graduated first in his class. It was there that many of his military skills were shaped for his future missions on the battlefield.  He even served for seven years under Douglas MacArthur.

Capt. John Eisenhower with his father, General Dwight Eisenhower in Scotland,1945.

Eisenhower’s true leadership skills began to shine during WWII when he earned his first general’s star and was promoted to brigadier general. For the next few years, he served in various locations from Washington, DC to the battlefields directing various invasions. He was even put in charge of the planned Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe on D-Day on June 6, 1944. By the time he returned home to a hero’s welcome, he was a full general and was the supreme commander.

As you may have figured out by now, presidents who were military heroes often say that they never expected to be President of the United States. However, the leadership skills of a commander on the battlefield do prepare one to be Commander-in-Chief of all American forces. Thus the road Eisenhower had somewhat thrust upon him was the road to the White House.

In 1952, (2 years before I was to be born) Eisenhower resigned his commission in the Army as a 5-star general. “I Like Ike” became his presidential campaign slogan and he was nominated to run as the 34th President with Richard Nixon as his running mate. They served two terms together as President and Vice-President. Oh, and he was the first President to ride in a helicopter – but it was nothing like Marine 1 is today.

So, it is fun to think I was born under a 5-star General who became President! No, I never met Eisenhower, but I did walk near his farm which backs up to the Gettysburg Battlefield.   And, I do have an old “I Like IKE” button. It was on his farm that he wrote his memoirs and published several books. He died on March 28, 1969 of congestive heart failure at the age of 78. He is buried at his Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas.( https://www.eisenhowerlibrary.gov/)

By the way, Camp David, where Presidents often retreat to, is named after Ike’s grandson. He renamed it in 1953 in honor of his 5-year-old grandson, David.

Next Friday, will be the last in my July blog series of Presidents in the military. Are you wondering who I will write about?

No, so far none of my students have become President…but I’m waiting for that truly historic event.

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History Education Program Coordinator Cindy Clark (Miss Clark) comes out of the brig aboard the USS Yorktown.

Getting To Know Miss Clark:

My name is Cindy Clark, but most of my life as a teacher I’ve been known as Miss Clark. For more than 24 years, I was blessed to teach in a traditional classroom full of students who often taught me more than I taught them. Today, I am honored to be part of the Education Department aboard the USS Yorktown at the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, and boy is my classroom much BIGGER!!!

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