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Welcome Remarks for "Eisenhower: Becoming the Leader of the Free World"

Good afternoon, and welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m pleased that you could be with us today, whether you are here in the theater or joining us through YouTube.

Today we’re looking forward to hearing from Louis Galambos, who will tell us about his new biography of Dwight Eisenhower, but first I’d like to tell you about two other programs coming up this week.

Tomorrow evening, at 7 p.m., we invite you to join us for a program about the Combat Artist Program, specifically for the Vietnam War. The Combat Artist Program was created to preserve the experience and activities of soldiers through art. The evening’s panel discussion is presented in partnership with the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

On Thursday, April 5, at noon, author Sheila Tate will discuss her book, Lady in Red: An Intimate Portrait of Nancy Reagan. Tate focuses on the various roles that Mrs. Reagan played during her years in the White House and offers a rare glimpse into the life of a President's wife. A book signing will follow the program.

To learn more about these and all of our public programs and exhibits, consult our monthly Calendar of Events online at Archives.gov. Check our website or sign up at the table outside the theater to get email updates. You’ll also find information about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Pick up your application for membership in the lobby or become a member online at archivesfoundation.org.

The Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives reflect the personality of each President whose papers are preserved there.

Outside the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas, stands a statue of a soldier. The pose is not conventionally heroic but portrays a man with confidence, at ease with his own authority.

Ike is depicted in his World War II uniform—wearing his signature “Eisenhower jacket.” The inscriptions on the pedestal record his leadership roles:


Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Forces

General of the Army

Chief of Staff, United States Army

Supreme Allied Commander Europe, North Atlantic Treaty Organization


34th President of the United States


The library grounds also contain Eisenhower’s boyhood home, a modest white frame house where he lived until he left for West Point. In only a few steps, visitors to the library and museum are able to follow Ike’s remarkable career trajectory from ordinary boy to leader of the free world.

Louis Galambos takes readers on that journey in his new biography, Eisenhower: Becoming the Leader of the Free World.

To introduce today’s author, Louis Galambos, we’ll turn the stage over to the Executive Director of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission, Brigadier General Carl W. Reddel, U.S. Air Force, retired.

Carl joined the Eisenhower Memorial Commission in 2001, while he was Public Service Fellow in the Center for Public Service at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. During 1999–2000, he was President and CEO of the Eisenhower World Affairs Institute, and before that was professor and head of the history department at the United States Air Force Academy.

After the Commission completed a review of 26 sites for the Eisenhower Memorial, Carl oversaw securing congressional approval in 2006 for the selected location and, in 2009, the choice of Frank Gehry as the memorial’s designer. The Eisenhower Memorial Commission celebrated groundbreaking this past fall, construction has begun, and dedication of the memorial is scheduled for 2020.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Carl Reddel.