The admiration Senator Dole felt for President Eisenhower is strongly felt in the Dole Archive and Special Collections at the Dole Institute of Politics. Eisenhower lent support for some of Dole’s early campaigns and throughout his career, Dole looked for ways to honor his politic hero, culminating in serving as the Chairman of the Dwight David Eisenhower Centennial Commission from 1988-1990.
The Dwight David Eisenhower Centennial Commission
The Dwight David Eisenhower Centennial Commission was established on November 7, 1986, in order to develop and coordinate observances and events commemorating the 100th anniversary of President Eisenhower’s birth on October 14, 1990.
The Dwight David Eisenhower Centennial Commission had three goals:
- To hold a Joint Meeting of Congress
- To oversee the issuance of the Eisenhower 1990 commemorative silver dollar and stamp
- To encourage a myriad of activities with the private Eisenhower Centennial Foundation, as well as other public and private entities.
The Commission’s membership consisted of six Senators, the President Pro Tempore, six Representatives, the Speaker of the House, six Presidential Appointees, and the Archivist of the United States. (Please see the Joint Session of Congress program for Commission members.) Senator Dole served as Commission Chairman from 1988-1990 and was instrumental in planning the events honoring his political hero. The Centennial of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s birth was celebrated throughout the world in 1990.
Documents from the Archives
This document outlines the goals and efforts of the Centennial Commission and the Joint Meeting of Congress.
Public Law 99-624 was signed by President Reagan on November 7, 1986. It established the Dwight David Eisenhower Centennial Commission in order to plan the celebrations marking the 100th Anniversary of President Eisenhower’s birth.
Senator Dole was elected Chairman of the Commission in April 1988, at its first meeting.
Press Release outlining the Joint Session of Congress on March 2, 1990.
This program from the Joint Session of Congress outlines President Eisenhower’s life; shows pictures of his childhood, military career, and Presidency; and contains "Presidential Perspectives" from Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush.
British Parliament Member, Winston S. Churchill, writes to Senator Dole of the Joint Session, "I cannot tell you what a great and unexpected honour it was to receive your invitation. I thought the whole occasion went off very well indeed. Certainly it is a day which will be etched in my memory for ever."
John S. D. Eisenhower writes to Senator Dole, "I have often thought of what a rare privilege I had. What son would not treasure the opportunity to address the Congress about the traits he admired most in his father? I am grateful to you for your pivotal role in making that possible."
During 1990, various events were held in 14 countries to celebrate the Centennial. This list highlights some of the major events.
Three separate metal sections: top is an eagle with the American flag center, the Netherlands Flag left to center and the Limburg flag to the right; second section reads "Nederland Amerika Instituut Limburg,"; third is name plate, Chairman Eisenhower Centennial Commision, Dutch-American Friendship Day.
This "Dear Colleague" letter – signed by Senators Bob Dole, John McCain, Robert Byrd, Nancy Kassebaum, and others – informs Senators of the Eisenhower Commemorative Act and the upcoming Joint Session of Congress. The Eisenhower Commemorative Act is a Senate Resolution that established October 14, 1990, as "Dwight David Eisenhower Day."
A copy of the Presidential Proclamation, signed by President George H.W. Bush, designating October 14, 1990, as "Dwight D. Eisenhower Day."
This document is the copy Senator Dole used for his floor speech on June 28, 1990, to lend support for the bill proposing the renaming of the Interstate Highway System, "The Dwight D. Eisenhower Interstate Highway System."
Senator Dole states that, "President Eisenhower was, after all, the driving force behind the creation of the Interstate Highway System. With the completion of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways scheduled for next year, and Ike’s Centennial this year, I believe this to be a fitting tribute to our nation’s 34th President."
Dole’s Speech at Centennial Celebration at Abilene, Kansas
An advance copy of Senator Dole’s speech that he gave at the Centennial celebration at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas on October 14, 1990.
In it Dole says, "In life, Dwight Eisenhower gave us leadership; in memory he inspires us to lead. If we really wish to honor the Man from Abilene on this, the centennial of his birth, we won’t just quote his words. We will follow his example. We will make the hard choices; we will accept the obligations of leadership. And then Ike’s greatest memorial will be an America as strong economically and spiritually as she is militarily."