The group planning a memorial to President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced Wednesday that NBC News' Tom Brokaw has joined its advisory committee.
Noting that Brokaw’s 1998 best-selling book, "The Greatest Generation," made him an expert in, and advocate for, the young American soldiers who served under Eisenhower, the Eisenhower Memorial Commission welcomed his support. Headed by Frank Fahrenkopf, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Gen. Paul X. Kelley, the former commandant of the Marine Corps, the advisory committee is working to get the controversial memorial built. Browkaw is no stranger to the perilous planning process behind breaking ground on Washington's monuments. He played a key role in the publicizing and fundraising for the World War II Memorial on the National Mall, from 2000 through its dedication in 2004. In February, the National WWII Museum honored Brokaw with the American Spirit Award.
“It’s a privilege for me to help with the effort to build the memorial that will honor General and President Dwight Eisenhower. While researching the Greatest Generation, I encountered so many troops who were willing to lay down their lives for their country and their inspirational leader, Ike," Brokaw said in a statement.
"There are still a million of them left and, just as they flocked to Washington on that spring day in 2004 to see the memorial to their sacrifice, they want to see their esteemed leader, General Eisenhower, honored. I am delighted to join my friend, Senator Bob Dole, and play a role in making that happen,” he added, giving a nod to the former Republican Leader from Kansas.
Dole serves on the advisory committee alongside former Sens. Nancy Kassebaum Baker, R-Kan., and Robert F. Bennett, R-Utah. As a veteran, Dole has also advocated for launching construction while those who served under Ike are still alive to see.
However, Congress continues to withhold funds, citing concerns about the memorial staff and criticism from Eisenhower's grandchildren of architect Frank Gehry's design. House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and House appropriators object to breaking ground without the family's backing.
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., who serves as chairman of the EMC, told CQ Roll Call last week that he was working with the Eisenhower family, and may have been to hasty in calling for construction funds.
“We couldn’t be happier to welcome Tom to this important effort," Roberts said in a statement. "As one of the experts on the Greatest Generation, Tom will be an excellent advocate for their fervent wish – to see the memorial built to the leader they revered, and to do that before it is too late!”
See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call's new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.