Dwight Eisenhower Death


Patricia Truslow, Contributor

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dwight eisenhower deathThe death of Dwight D. Eisenhower was a day of national mourning for American had lost one of the most popular presidents of all time. The date was March 28, 1969; the place was Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D. C. a place "where old soldiers often die." He was 78 years old.

Dwight Eisenhower's death ended his battle with heart disease that had manifested over the prior two-year period. His first heart attack was in 1955, after which he often suffered bouts of depression, low energy and some digestive regression. He had a light stroke in 1957 that left no apparent damage. Between the period of May 1967 and February 1969, Dwight Eisenhower, seven more heart attacks, the last of which resulted in heart surgery in February 1969. Around March 15, his heart performance had greatly deteriorated to the point that he was hospitalized in Walter Reed Hospital. He died at 12:25 PM on March 28, 1969.

Funeral and burial plans for Dwight Eisenhower were made in 1966 by the president according to his wishes. Ceremonies were held in Washington, D.C. where he lay in state in the Capitol following a funeral with full military honors in the Washington National Cathedral. President Richard M. Nixon declared March 30th as a national day of mourning, and he delivered the eulogy. Another funeral service was held on the steps of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library with burial in the Place of Meditation Chapel on the grounds of the complex in Abilene, Kansas that contains Eisenhower's boyhood home, his library and his museum.

At the base of Capital Hill is located Eisenhower Square, a four-acre park memorial with two separate tributes; one is a statue of Dwight Eisenhower as the 34th president, backed by a bas relief which shows him signing the Civil Rights Act of 1957. The other is a statue of Eisenhower as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces with the 101st Airborne Division that was air-dropped into France. The bas relief behind this statue depicts the military landing on the beach of Normandy on D-Day in 1944.

The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Eisenhower Museum in Abilene, Kansas began in 1962. The complex includes a Visitor Center, Dwight D. Eisenhower's boyhood house, the Place of Meditation, along with the library and museum presented in a park-like well landscaped setting. It is located at 200 Southeast Fourth Street in Abilene, and is opened 362 days per year from 9:00 AM until 4:45 PM, with some extended hours in the summer.

Over the years, many other memorials have been dedicated to Dwight D. Eisenhower which includes schools, a university and several medical centers. Some particularly impressive dedications include:

  • Commemorative signs along the nation's interstate highway system that read "Eisenhower Interstate System" and bear his permanent five-star rank insignia
  • Eisenhower Hall, a cadet activities building at West Point, and the Eisenhower Monument at West Point
  • The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) aircraft carrier, commissioned in 1977
  • A loblolly pine planted at the 17th hole on the Augusta National Golf Course where Eisenhower was a member for many years. It is named the "Eisenhower Pine" in memory of his having hit the pine so many times while playing golf there.