New memorial honors Eisenhower

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer explores the new memorial opening at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., honoring the life and leadership of former President Dwight Eisenhower.
5:50 | 09/17/20

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Transcript for New memorial honors Eisenhower
Finally tonight after years of delay and some controversy a former Republican president is getting a major monument in the nation's capital. Tomorrow the Dwight. As a landmark tribute. It's prompting a reexamination of the 34 president's legacy and comparisons to Donald Trump. Here's DeVon who are. As the sun rises over Washington Dwight Eisenhower is seen in a new light. And you shrine to an American icon it kind of leadership the nation hasn't seen in generations. 34 president and and supreme allied commander in world war two and that is what this represents Dwight. Founding our country is linked again. The two roosevelts. The Kennedy senator is actually a presidential memoir now. So his his legacy is set meant that I think in American history here this memorial. The memorial charts Eisenhower's rise from a son of Abilene Kansas to wartime general and two term president. A steel mesh tapestry depicts the coast of Normandy France where allied forces under Eisenhower's command. Stormed the beaches on 1944. After years of disputes over the 150 million dollar design which is authorized by congress in 1999. The memorial was finished just this week two decades later under budget. It's not bombastic. Quiet architect Frank Gehry says his design is meant to remind us that ordinary Americans can do great things bit possible that. There are people living with us to. Rise to be Asian and the opportunities. And it could come from anywhere from from and he rates that are there. Culture. And up Ike won the White House in a landslide in 1952. Presiding over years of prosperity in peace in America. President Eisenhower appointed five justices to the US Supreme Court. Expanded the interstate highway system in created NASA. And the FAA. Our defense is but be adequate. Not just today. But tomorrow and in all the years to come. He was a society where were removed and people who could make it different stood erect and he oversaw a desegregation of the US military and public schools. Sandy the National Guard in to Little Rock in 1957. To enforce integration. He signed into law early protections for voting rights in the critics say his push for equality wasn't strong enough for Eisenhower favoring an incremental approach to racial justice that was later overtaken by an eruption of racial unrest after he left office. And toward gay and lesbian Americans Eisenhower authorize discrimination. In 1953 sign in and ordered to ban them from the government. Is there anything with about your grandfather's legacy. That you're not proud I noticed disappointed that. He could not bring Kohl who are too now. The end it is. Eight years interns as personal lives and I certainly I guess said he had to tell her what she should. Bring under controller pretty years 'cause he is leading men this memorial. It's really about. About leadership. Shouldn't implementing. The memorial has prompted fresh contrast between a by gone Republican president and the current one. Great leaders prepare for every eventuality. Dwight Eisenhower even making it into the 20/20 campaign. The TV ad by the Republican group the Lincoln project suggesting Donald Trump doesn't matter dropped to hike. Do you think those contrasts are fair I'm not sure how useful comparisons are. But I do think they're comparisons are inevitable because people are looking. To the pastor showed some. Young guy posts and and to understand. How we got to this position. I do think however that the Eisenhower leadership style as much more effective for this country. It was a style that put a premium on unity president trump in the four other living former presidents were invited to come together at this week's memorial dedication. But none are able to attend. Do you see. This is being hurt are particularly well right moment to get re acquainted with your grandfather wouldn't stand for. He dedication to his. Group meets the two which would been beset members treat the he'd so Ben. Celebrating its achievement of the circumstance. Now really are urged to shopping deeper. With America divided and in crisis the new Eisenhower memorial is an invitation for reflection. How far America has come the kind of leaders the country needs to shape a better future what's the message you hope. They take away I hope for a child who comes here they'll see that statue of young I ache and maybe they'll wonder how did this kid this. Who came from Abilene Kansas with you know no advantage socially or economically. How did he figure out how to make his life into what it was because that is what we all hope the American story is that freedom gives you opportunity. And with opportunity you can. Paint your own canvas for ABC news live I'm Devin Dwyer in Washington. Our thanks to DeVon for that.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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