Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Road Trip! (Denison)

I enjoy visiting Presidential sites, because I think the American “commander in chief” is an amazing symbol. Even if our elections grow antagonistic, we have about the least bloodthirsty tradition of changing leaders!

I’ve been to Clinton’s homes in Arkansas, Carter’s museum in Georgia, Bush’s library and Johnson’s ranch in Texas, Abraham Lincoln’s homestead, Woodrow Wilson House and birthplaces of Truman, Nixon and Taylor. Also – two Kennedy memorials, the White House, presidential monuments in Washington DC, Mount Harding and Mount Rushmore.

Most recently, I visited Dwight D. Eisenhower’s home in Denison, TX – inches from the Oklahoma border, and coincidentally the birthplace of my father’s elder brother, giving me a family connection as well.

Eisenhower was elected in 1953 and left office in 1961, around the time my parents met. He died a few months before I was born, so I only knew “famous” topics, such as D-Day, the “I Like Ike” slogan, the additions of Alaska and Hawaii on his watch, and of course, I knew he signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, establishing NASA in 1958.

Details I hadn’t known until recently –

His first name is David, he was third of seven sons, and as a child dreamed of being a major league baseball player. In addition to his well-known roles as Army General and President, he was a West Point cadet, football coach, university president, supreme commander of NATO, civil rights advocate and the reason we have an interstate highway system.

He won an Emmy!
Ike didn’t just “sign” NASA into being; he himself proposed to Congress the creation of a civilian agency, building upon the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) as its foundation and granting a “blank check” budget. This effectively removed from military hands areas devoted to rocketry and space research. Early notable additions included the Army's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech, Werner von Braun's team at the Alabama Redstone Arsenal and the Langley, Ames Aeronautical and Lewis Flight Laboratories.


1960: Ike and first NASA administrator T. Keith Glennan
examine photographs taken by the TIROS 1 Satellite.

Another thing I hadn’t known – Eisenhower was AGAINST manned space flight to the moon. However, his successor was all for it, and the rest is history.


barbie2be said...

i liked ike. :)

Danielle said...

James A. Garfield had a home in my hometown, Mentor, Ohio. It's really neat, if you're ever up this far north. :-)

Mrs. L said...

I would love to get all those places. I have yet to get to Mt. Rushmore which is high up on my list.

Mike said...

I have seen Mount Rushmore. I thought it would be gimmicky, but it was well worth the drive from Omaha. The Black Hills are beautiful. Plus, the trip across southern South Dakota was an eye-opener.

I have seen many of the monuments near DC and the George Washington house. There are a few more things in the area I'd love ot see.

I've also stayed in the Kennedy Presidential suite at the Fairmont Copley in Boston (I was given a comp upgrade once). It's full of photos of JFK and Jacquie

PillowNaut said...

Mentor, Ohio... now on the list! Maybe I'll finally see the NASA centers in Ohio on the way. And Boston! I forgot to add the stuff I saw in 1976 during the bicentennial celebrations, LOL... tho' nothing so grand as the Fairmont back then. One place I truly hope to see above all is Jefferson's Monticello :)