Turns out I didn’t need to buy that ticket after all.
When I arrived yesterday in Abilene, Kansas, I swung by the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and expected to be able to saunter up to his grave, take my pics and then, if I felt like it, pay the $15 entry fee and visit the museum. Reality was less kind. His final resting place is indoors, inside a church-like structure called the Place of Meditation and, ironically enough, I found myself locked out.
Due to the pandemic, they’re limiting the number of visitors and requiring tickets purchased in advance for a specified time. Fortunately I was able to get an appointment for today. I arrived early because that’s what I do. I was able to park nearby so I scoped out the Place of Meditation for a bit. There was no one guarding the door and no visitors going in or out. I assumed the worse and began planning my pleas to the staff to open up just for my quest to visit the graves of all the dead presidents.
But, just to be sure, I walked up and tried the door. It was unlocked. I sauntered right in and was alone in the Place of Meditation, looking down from a slightly elevated platform at the graves of Ike and Mamie and their son “Icky” who died from scarlet fever at the age of three.
Every gun made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed … This is not a way of life at all … Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.From Eisenhower’s Chance for Peace Address, Washington DC, April 16, 1953
I now have 36 of the 39 dead Presidents in my collection. Only Nixon, Reagan and Bush are left.