BL remembers Ike’s oath fondly [UPDATED]Published 6:10am Monday, December 31, 2012 Updated 8:15am Monday, December 31, 2012
Dwight Eisenhower, during an overnight stay at Glendalough near Battle Lake in early September 1952, was confident that in a little over four months he would be sworn in as president of the United States.
The former World War II general took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 1953. Ike, as he was known, succeeded Harry Truman as not only U.S. president but also as the leader of the free world.
The new president had a love of country which he shared with fellow Americans in his inaugural address.
“We are summoned to act in wisdom and in conscience, to work with industry, to teach with persuasion, to preach with conviction, to weigh our every deed with care and with compassion,” said Eisenhower. “This truth must be clear before us: whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America.”
Ike talked about faith defining our full view of life.
“Faith establishes, beyond debate, those gifts of the Creator that are man’s inalienable rights, and that make all men equal in His sight.”
The new president had the deep respect of people in Otter Tail County and throughout the nation.
“We know that the virtues such as love of truth, pride of work and devotion to country all are treasures equally precious in the lives of the most humble and of the most exalted,” said Eisenhower. “The men who mine coal and fire furnaces and balance ledgers and turn lathes and pick cotton and heal the sick and plant corn all serve proudly.”
Eisenhower had served as Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during World War II.
As president he obtained a truce in Korea and worked to ease the tensions of the Cold War. As noted on presidential websites, he pursued the moderate policies of “Modern Republicanism,” pointing out as he left office, “America is today the strongest, most influential and most productive nation in the world.”
In domestic policy President Eisenhower pursued a middle course, continuing most of the New Deal and Fair Deal programs, emphasizing a balanced budget. As desegregation of schools began, he sent troops into Little Rock, Ark., to assure compliance with the orders of a federal court. He also ordered the complete desegregation of the Armed Forces.
“There must be no second class citizens in this country,” said Ike.
Before he left office in January 1961, for his farm in Gettysburg with his wife Mamie, Eisenhower urged the necessity of maintaining an adequate military strength, but cautioned that vast, long-continued military expenditures (military industrial complex) could breed potential dangers to our way of life.
John F. Kennedy became president after Eisenhower’s eight years in office.
Ike has a special place in the hearts of people in the Battle Lake area. They take pride in knowing that their community hosted Ike shortly before he was sworn in as president.
In 1952 Eisenhower took a break from his presidential race with Adlai Stevenson to spend a couple days at Glendalough. He also enjoyed some fishing at Annie Battle Lake and attended Sunday church services in Battle Lake, at First Lutheran Church.
Many baby boomers like me still have “I Like Ike” campaign buttons left over from the 1950s. We remember a man who had a loving smile and who led the nation in both war and peace.
Historians refer to Eisenhower as a man whose vision of democracy and public service in the 1950s is still relevant today. I fully agree.