At The Girl Who Wore Freedom we want to show our gratitude to veterans. We honor their service and sacrifice by listening to and capturing their stories. We are so thrilled to announce our partnership with Ike’s Soldiers, whose mission is the same as ours. Today on Veterans Day we want to say thank you to all veterans.
Before Dwight D. Eisenhower became President, he was a five-star general in the United States Army and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe. Despite his many medals and awards, he preferred the attention to be directed to the troops he led.
“Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in blood of his followers and sacrifices of his friends.”
-Dwight D. Eisenhower at Guildhall Address, London, June 12, 1945
The Eisenhower Foundation non-profit was formed in 1945 after the Allied victory in Europe to create a memorial to General Eisenhower: To honor and champion the relevance today of the life and leadership of Dwight D. Eisenhower through compelling programs and events that celebrate his legacy. As the 75th Anniversary of D-Day approached, The Eisenhower Foundation knew that if Ike were here today, he would want to honor the soldiers who fought for our freedom. “Our goal for Ike’s Soldiers is to honor those whose service changed the course of history forever, the veterans, Rosies, and survivors of World War II. We want them to experience our gratitude in action.” shared Meredith Sleichter, Executive Director, Eisenhower Foundation.
The Eisenhower Foundation presents Ike’s Soldiers, a program dedicated to honoring the stories and personal accounts of veterans of World War II. This program provides students, teachers, historians and citizens of the world the opportunity to become part of history by collecting and submitting personal accounts by veterans of World War II to the Eisenhower Foundation’s Ike’s Soldiers online database. By doing so, we honor the soldiers that led us to one of the biggest victories in world history and provide future generations with the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts about the experience. Ike would like that! We’ve collected hundreds of interviews and artifacts from American heroes who fought during World War II and served under the leadership of General Eisenhower. Browse our database of stories at http://ikessoldiers.com/ikessoldiers/.
The mission of Ike’s Soldiers is to honor Dwight D. Eisenhower’s legacy through the compelling stories of the soldiers he led and share them with the world through IKEducation programs and digital media platforms.
Ike’s Soldiers General Program is open to all friends, family members or fans of World War II veterans. Participants are asked to collect a World War II veteran’s biographical information and, if possible, their story on video. We accept deceased World War II veteran’s information, artifacts, and stories from family members. Please download the General Information Packet found on our website http://ikessoldiers.com/generalprogram/. This packet contains all the necessary forms to properly submit a veteran’s information to Ike’s Soldiers database, and, if possible, produce a video interview. If you are submitting an oral history, feel free to watch the “How To” videos below to help you get started.
The Ike’s Soldiers student program is open to high school and college students. Participants are asked to skillfully capture and edit videos according to our guidelines. For every interview that is submitted according to our guidelines, the Eisenhower Foundation will grant $50 to the student who conducted and produced the interview. For more information visit http://ikessoldiers.com/studentprogram/.
Soldier Spotlight: Bob Dole
“I am pleased that the Ike’s Soldiers initiative is capturing these compelling stories of World War II veterans. For our disappearing generation, these first-hand accounts will ensure that history is preserved – reminding future generations of the sacrifices made to preserve our everyday freedoms.”
The Ike’s Soldiers team had the opportunity to sit down for an interview with Bob Dole in his Washington D.C. offices. Bob Dole’s interview was captured in collaboration with Witness to War, a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, dedicated to capturing the stories of individual combat veterans. Dole graciously shared about his experiences in World War II. “My first real combat was the day I was wounded,” shared former World War II veteran and Senator Bob Dole. Originally their combat mission was to have begun a day or two before, but the news of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death ended up delaying their departure on their mission to push the Germans out of Italy. “Sometimes I often wonder what would have happened if we hadn’t waited.”
Like many World War II veterans, Dole returned home seriously wounded and permanently disabled with limited mobility in his right arm, right hand, and numbness in his left hand. He was decorated with two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with “V” Device for Valor for showing heroism in his combat experiences. He later went on to lead a distinguished career as Kansas’ Representative to the U.S. House of Representatives and later the U.S. Senate. Now, at 95 years old, he chooses to serve by visiting with veterans at the World War II Memorial nearly every Saturday, “When the weather’s good.”
“Ike was my hero.”
-Bob Dole recounting his interactions with President Dwight D. Eisenhower before he ran for office
Featured on the Ike’s Soldiers website is the full interview with former Kansas Senator and World War II veteran, Bob Dole, who shared “I am pleased that the Ike’s Soldiers initiative is capturing these compelling stories of World War II veterans. For our disappearing generation, these first-hand accounts will ensure that history is preserved – reminding future generations of the sacrifices made to preserve our everyday freedoms.” Bob Dole‘s story is just one of the hundreds of World War II veterans’ incredible stories now available on http://ikessoldiers.com/ikessoldiers/.