Memorial Inscriptions

Sculpture of young Eisenhower and inscription of quote

The following quotations are engraved on the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial:

Order of the Day for June 6, 1944

The tide has turned! Free men of the world are marching together to victory!

June 6, 1944

On the eve of the Normandy invasion, General Eisenhower distributed the order of the day to the 175,000-man expeditionary force. Read the entire document here.

Homecoming Speech

Because no man is really a man who has lost out of himself all of the boy, I want to speak first of the dreams of a barefoot boy. Frequently, they are to be of a street car conductor or he sees himself as the town policeman, above all he may reach to a position of locomotive engineer, but always in his dreams is that day when he finally comes home. Comes home to a welcome from his own home town. Because today that dream of mine of 45 years or more ago has been realized beyond the wildest stretches of my own imagination, I come here, first, to thank you, to say the proudest thing I can claim is that I am from Abilene.

Abilene, Kansas
June 22, 1945

Dwight Eisenhower returned to Abilene on June 22, 1945 to a parade welcoming him home and honoring his leadership in Europe during World War II. After watching the celebration, his grateful acceptance of the recognition began with the above quote. He went on to say that this parade was not just for him; he was only a "symbol" of the soldiers, sailors and airmen who helped bring Allied victory.

Guildhall Address

Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in the blood of his followers and sacrifices of his friends. Conceivably a commander may have been professionally superior. He may have given everything of his heart and mind to meet the spiritual and physical needs of his comrades. He may have written a chapter that will glow forever in the pages of military history. Still, even such a man — if he existed — would sadly face the facts that his honors cannot hide in his memories the crosses marking the resting places of the dead. They cannot soothe the anguish of the widow or the orphan whose husband or father will not return. The only attitude in which a commander may with satisfaction receive the tributes of his friends is in the humble acknowledgment that no matter how unworthy he may be, his position is the symbol of great human forces that have labored arduously and successfully for a righteous cause. Unless he feels this symbolism and this rightness in what he has tried to do, then he is disregardful of the courage, the fortitude, and the devotion of the vast multitudes he has been honored to command. If all allied men and women that have served with me in this war can only know that it is they whom this august body is really honoring today, then indeed I will be content. No petty differences in the world of trade, traditions, or national pride should ever blind us to our identities in priceless values. If we keep our eyes on this guidepost, then no difficulties along our path of mutual co-operation can ever be insurmountable. Moreover, when this truth has permeated to the remotest hamlet and heart of all peoples, then indeed may we beat our swords into plowshares and all nations can enjoy the fruitfulness of the Earth.

London, England
June 12, 1945

On June 12, 1945, General Eisenhower spoke after receiving the “Freedom of the City” at London’s Guildhall, a symbolic act first recorded in 1237 and making him a citizen of the city.

First Inaugural Address

We must be ready to dare all for our country. For history does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid. We must acquire proficiency in defense and display stamina in purpose. We must be willing, individually and as a nation, to accept whatever sacrifices may be required of us. A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. Patriotism means equipped forces and a prepared citizenry. Moral stamina means more energy and more productivity, on the farm and in the factory. Love of liberty means the guarding of every resource that makes freedom possible — from the sanctity of our families and the wealth of our soil to the genius of our scientists. And so each citizen plays an indispensable role. The productivity of our heads, our hands and our hearts is the source of all the strength we can command, for both the enrichment of our lives and the winning of the Peace. This is the hope that beckons us onward in this century of trial. This is the work that awaits us all, to be done with bravery, with charity and with prayer to almighty God.

Washington, DC
January 20, 1953

Read the entire speech here, or watch it here.

Second Inaugural Address

We look upon this shaken earth, and we declare our firm and fixed purpose - the building of a peace with justice in a world where moral law prevails.

Second Inaugural Address - January 21, 1957

Read the entire speech here, or watch it here.

Farewell Address

Throughout America’s adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction. This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. v We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. Akin to and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades. It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society. We pray that...all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.

Washington, DC
January 17, 1961

Read the entire speech here, or watch it here.

Last updated: September 21, 2020

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