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Bob Dole to raise funds to build Eisenhower memorial

Dole
Dole AP

Bob Dole faces one more mission.

The 92-year-old former Kansas senator and Senate majority leader was named last week as finance chair of the campaign to build a memorial to another son of Kansas, Dwight Eisenhower.

The goal: $150 million.

“I want the country I fought for — the country that has benefited from Ike’s leadership, resolve and vision — to honor Ike. Now,” Dole said in a statement. “There are about a million of us left who served in World War II. That’s a million American heroes who revere Ike and want to honor him before we are gone.”

Dole has long regarded Eisenhower as his hero.

Dole was a central figure in construction of another landmark that now dots the Washington Mall — the World War II Memorial, which also was controversial for its design. Dole helped raise $170 million over a decade ago and now often greets veterans who travel to Washington to see it.

Congress authorized the Eisenhower Memorial 16 years ago, and Dole said it should’ve been built by now. But the Eisenhower family and other critics objected to the design by architect Frank Gehry.

Critics, though, won’t stop the project, Dole told the Associated Press.

“To heck with 'em,” he said. “We're going to go ahead and build it.” Eisenhower wouldn't want taxpayers paying for his memorial anyway, he said.

The project has won final approvals. Gehry’s design features statues of Eisenhower as a general, as president and as a young man from Kansas. The memorial would face the National Air and Space Museum near the Mall.

Dole has promised to work the phones. He’s to visit the Kansas State Fair in the next few days to promote the memorial.

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