WASHINGTON (AP) -- Taiwan is pledging $1 million to help build a memorial honoring U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Washington as the project organizers begin a fundraising campaign to complete the monument.
This year's 70th anniversary of the end of World War II is a fitting time to recall Eisenhower's accomplishments as a military general and president, Taiwan's economic and cultural representative to the U.S., Lyushun Shen, wrote in a letter to Pat Roberts, a Congressman from Kansas, Eisenhower's home state, and the memorial commission's chairman. Eisenhower "holds a very special place in the hearts of the people of Taiwan," Shen wrote, citing his support to Taiwan's security.
The gift being announced Tuesday marks a critical phase for the Eisenhower Memorial after 15 years of planning. Organizers must determine whether they can raise the money needed to build the long-delayed monument. They hope to raise at least $20 million privately and build support in Congress for additional construction funding.
Historians and organizers behind the Eisenhower Memorial effort said they found Eisenhower's reputation around the world rivaled that of any other U.S. president. They have been introducing the memorial plans to various nations and hope others will support the project as well.
"Eisenhower is arguably the most international of all presidents," said retired Brig. Gen. Carl Reddel, executive director of the memorial commission.
The Eisenhower project has been in the planning stages for 15 years since Congress created the Eisenhower Memorial Commission. Last week, the group won final approval for the memorial's design by architect Frank Gehry, despite criticism from Eisenhower family members in recent years.
Gehry designed a memorial park with statues of Eisenhower as general, as president and as a young man from Kansas. A large metal tapestry would serve as a backdrop, depicting the Kansas landscape of Eisenhower's boyhood home.