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Friday, 26 December 2014

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was born  in Denison, Texas, on October 14, 1890, the third of seven boys.

As a child, he was involved in an accident that cost his younger brother an eye; he later referred to this as an experience teaching him the need to be protective of those under him.

Dwight Eisenhower was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and the family home in Kansas served as the local meeting hall from 1896 to 1915.

Eisenhower left the religion once he'd become an adult and openly opposed major aspects of Watchtower teaching. However his religious upbringing  installed important principles in the general, including a strong work ethic, responsibility, and honesty.

During his school days young Dwight Eisenhower was usually called Ike by his friends. The nickname stayed with him throughout his life.

Ike's favorite school subjects were English, history, and geometry. In sports he starred in both basketball and football.

Ike was graduated from Abilene High School in 1909. For the next two years he worked in a creamery to help pay his brother Edgar's expenses at law school.

In 1911 he took the entrance examination for the Military Academy at West Point. He ranked second in the tests but obtained the appointment when the top candidate failed to pass the physical examination.

Dwight Eisenhower was a promising halfback on the West Point academy football team but had to give up the game after injuring his knee.

Eisenhower learned poker, which he called his "favorite indoor sport", in Abilene. He recorded West Point classmates' poker losses for payment after graduation, and later stopped playing because his opponents resented having to pay him.

Eisenhower was graduated from West Point in 1915 and was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry. He was ranked 61st academically and 125th in discipline from a class of 164.

Although Einsenhower's pacifist parents disapproved of his entering the military none the less they allowed him to choose his own career.

Eisenhower met and fell in love with Mamie Geneva Doud of Boone, Iowa, six years his junior, while he was stationed in Texas. She was very popular and had many suitors before she met Dwight, who she described as "the spiffiest looking man I've ever talked to in my life." They married on July 1, 1916.

Mamie at 17

The Eisenhowers had two sons. Doud Dwight "Icky" Eisenhower was born September 24, 1917, and died of scarlet fever on January 2, 1921, at the age of three.

Dwight D. Eisenhower with his wife Mamie and infant son Icky

Their second son, John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower, was born on August 3, 1922, while they were in Panama. John served in the United States Army, retired as a brigadier general, became an author and served as U.S. Ambassador to Belgium from 1969 to 1971.

John Eisenhower

During World War II, Eisenhower rose his way up the ranks to become a 5-star general.  He had strategic command of Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings on the coast of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Although the landings turned out to be a resounding success, Eisenhower hedged his bets by keeping in his pocket a communiqué announcing the failure of the landings and accepting full responsibility.

Eisenhower, pictured here in 1942 as a major general.

General Dwight Eisenhower was very fond of Coca-Cola and his fondness for the drink led to the construction of Coke bottling plants wherever the American troops landed. Thus sales of the American soft drink rapidly increased in many different places around the world.

In 1948, Eisenhower became President of Columbia University, an Ivy League university in New York. The assignment was described as not being a good fit in either direction.

Eisenhower became Supreme Commander of NATO-Europe on November 19, 1950.

Considered a war hero, the American public begged Eisenhower to run for President In the 1952 election. Eisenhower (whose political views were unknown at the time) joined the Republican Party. He chose Richard Nixon as his vice-presidential candidate and won the election by beating Adlai Stevenson.

He served two terms from 1953–1961. Eisenhower was the first President of the United States to be president of all 50 states.

He intimidated the Soviet Union with a policy of brinkmanship,  by making them believe that the United States would respond to any act of aggression with the use of nuclear weapons.

In 1953 Eisenhower became the first president to officially join a church while in office, when in a single ceremony he was baptized, confirmed, and became a communicant of the National Presbyterian church.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill into law on June 14, 1954  that placed the words "under God" into the United States Pledge of Allegiance. Congressional sessions open with the recital of the Pledge, as do many government meetings at local levels, and meetings held by many private organizations. It is also commonly recited in school at the beginning of every school day,

Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a law officially declaring “In God We Trust” to be the nation’s official motto on July 30, 1956. The same day, the President signed into law a requirement that "In God We Trust" be printed on all U.S. currency and coins.

President Dwight Eisenhower suffered a major heart attack during his first term of office. He made a steady recovery and after two months was able to resume his duties. The president also suffered from arteriosclerosis and acute intestinal obstruction.

In 1956, Eisenhower released an album titled The President's Favorite Music: Dwight D. Eisenhower with the cover featuring him and first lady Mamie.  The still available Eisenhower LP featured classical favorites like Bach, Beethoven and Strauss alongside more contemporary tracks like those from Porgy and Bess and Marian Anderson's rendition of "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands."

Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower owned a Weimaraner named Heidi. Mamie would frequently send Heidi in a chauffeured limo to Gettysburg from the White House by herself to keep the pooch from messing up the house.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president of all US 50 states.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered a televised farewell address to the nation on January 17, 1961, three days before leaving office, in which he warned against the accumulation of power by the "military–industrial complex" as well as the dangers of massive spending, especially deficit spending.

Eisenhower hated cats so much that he ordered any trespassing on his land to be shot.

Eisenhower was a golf enthusiast later in life, and joined the Augusta National Golf Club in 1948. He played golf frequently during and after his presidency to the point of golfing during winter, and ordering his golf balls painted black so he could see them better against snow on the ground.

During his eight-year administration, Dwight Eisenhower managed to squeeze in 800 rounds of golf.

While at Columbia University, Eisenhower took up oil painting as a hobby after watching Thomas E. Stephens paint Mamie's portrait. He painted about 260 oils during the last 20 years of his life to relax, mostly landscapes

On the morning of March 28, 1969, at the age of 78, Eisenhower died in Washington, D.C. of congestive heart failure at Walter Reed Army Hospital.

Eisenhower's body was returned to the National Cathedral three days later, where he was given an Episcopal Church funeral service.

Eisenhower's funeral service.,  Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, Wikipedia

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