Thousands of predictions have already been made for 2014: call-in predictions on the radio and postings on the Internet; countless psychic, political, religious and medical predictions; many predictions of comedies, tragedies, and reversals of fortunes.
Instead of discussing the words that predict what events might happen in the future, I like to consider the words that have lasted, the words spoken and written in the past but are again relevant and helpful. I think of these as the words that have echoes that live beyond the time they were written.
For instance, President “Ike” Eisenhower and his wife Mamie lost their first son, Doud, at the age of three after an attack of scarlet fever. “There is no tragedy in life like the death of a child,” President Eisenhower wrote. “Things never get back to the way they were.” These words endure; they have echoes that still ring true with parents everywhere. Before my mother’s dementia, she had a heart for the Eisenhowers, and especially for Mamie, the First Lady who suffered the loss of her first child.
Abilene is one of my favorite Kansas towns. In addition to charming shops and traditions, friendly and talented people, and the amazing Brown’s Park with hiking areas, streams, a Frisbee Golf course and a superb campground, Abilene is also the site of the Eisenhower family home. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) was the third of seven Eisenhower sons, and he graduated from Abilene High School. The rest of his life is history.
He went on to become a 5-Star General in the U.S. Army during WWII and the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe. As America’s 34th President, he launched the Interstate Highway System, sent federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce desegregation of public schools, and implemented desegregation of the Armed Forces. And yet, when he died, he was not buried in Arlington National Cemetery as many expected, but brought home to be buried in Abilene, KS. Ike, Mamie and their first son are buried together in the chapel located on the grounds featuring the Eisenhower Museum, the Presidential Library, and the relocated original Eisenhower family home. It’s an impressive area, a rich legacy of American history.
Which of President Eisenhower’s words echo true in 2014?
“Don’t join the book burners. Do not think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed.”
“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.”
“The problem in defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without.”
“Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America.”
“We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.”
“The purpose is clear. It is safety with solvency. The country is entitled to both.”
“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”
“There are a number of things wrong with Washington. One of them is that everyone is too far from home.”
President Eisenhower is home again, in a town of 7,000, with deep roots and a wealth of history and knowledge that is available to everyone. And as my mother would say, “I like Ike!” And so do I. Visit Abilene, and you will, too.