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Bush Dedicates Old Executive Building in Honor of Eisenhower

Aired May 7, 2002 - 10:26   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take you live now to Washington, D.C. President Bush is dedicating the Old Executive Building. It is going to be in honor of former President Dwight Eisenhower -- let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: His name fits this building, because he was a great soldier, a great president and a good man. Dwight D. Eisenhower served his country with distinction. People over a certain age will always associate Dwight Eisenhower with a time of strength and a time of stability in America.

We think of the '50s, in the mind's eye we see the president and his fine wife, Mamie. They had lived a military life, moving more than 30 times. And just as GIs in the '50s across America were settling back home, so were the Eisenhowers. As a matter of fact, they would live longer in the White House here then at any other address. We don't need to idolize the era they represented to see all of the good things that were there. millions of growing families and industries and new cities and the beginnings of the life that we know today.

Had he never become president, Eisenhower would still be known to all as the leader of the forces that liberated a continent from a terrible evil. The turning point of the war was a decision to invade the coast of France. The decision was made by Roosevelt and Churchill. The day and hour were left to General Eisenhower, and a lot of people felt a lot better knowing that it was his call to make.

General Eisenhower understood exactly what risks lay ahead. Had his troops failed to take the beaches, he was going to point a finger straight at himself. Here is what he wrote in advance: "If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone."

Fifty-seven years ago this very day, General Eisenhower reported that the mission of the allied force was fulfilled and the war in Europe was over. In victory, he was the first to share credit. It was not within his character to do otherwise.

As Vice President Richard Nixon said this about General Eisenhower, President Eisenhower, "He always retained a saving humility. It was the humility," Nixon said, "not of fear, but of confidence. He walked with the great of the world, and he knew that the great are human. His was the humility of man before God and before the truth. His was the humility of a man too proud to be arrogant."

In his career, Dwight Eisenhower faced two great crises of the 20th century.

KAGAN: We haven been listening to President Bush as he dedicates the Old Executive Office Building, right across the street from the White House. It has now been dedicated to former President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Actually, this was taken care of under President Clinton's term. They never got around to a ceremony, and President Bush was going to have a ceremony back in September, but of course, the events of September 11 kept that from happening.

So officially from now, it will be known as the Eisenhower Building, the Old Executive Office Building. This is where offices like the vice president keeps his offices; also the National Security Council as well.

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