DENISON, TX – Thursday, October 14, 2010, marks the 120th birthday anniversary of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. And over a century after he was born in Denison, the city is still celebrating its hometown hero in a big way.
When people come from across the country to get a piece of Eisenhower history at his birthplace, Denison certainly doesn’t let them down.
"Well I've always been a great admirer of Eisenhower, not only as a General and as President, but especially as a man,” said Howard Hart, who’s visiting Texoma all the way from Mitchell, South Dakota.
Hart still remembers the first time he met his Commander-in-Chief, President Eisenhower, as an Army soldier after the Korean War.
"He treated me just like another soldier. We had a parade and I was standing and he could see my ribbons that I served in Korea, and so he called me over and he asked my name and just kind of talked to me as a soldier,” said Hart.
Hart said he developed an admiration for Eisenhower then and there; and it's what brought him to his birthplace today.
That same heroism keeps Ike's legacy alive in Denison today. Thursday morning a special flag was raised over his birthplace and a commemorative stamp was unveiled in honor of where he came from.
"There's only 43 cities in the U.S. that can claim being the hometown of a president, that's kind of neat,” said Doug Coleman, an organizer for the Eisenhower birthday celebrations.
Those events will include a WWII battle re-enactment, an “Ike the Cook” luncheon and parade from Saturday to Sunday.
"When you have heroes, you need to push them out in front of the public from time to time, and remind everybody what is the background history of where they live,” said Coleman.
For Howard Hart, visiting the place where his hero was born meant even more on his 120th birthday.
"To see someone have these very, very humble beginnings and stay humble all his life and just mold the world, it's unbelievable,” said Hart.
Events for Eisenhower’s Birthday in Denison include:
World War II Battle Re-enactment
• Saturday, October 16 through Sunday, October 17
• 700 block of W. Main
• WWII encampment resembling that of wartime courtesy of the Texas Military Historical Society
“Ike the Cook” Luncheon and Cupcakes in the Park
• Saturday, October 16
• Lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Eisenhower Birthplace, $4 per person
• Birthday cupcakes and cookies 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Heritage Park
Parade and Museum
• Sunday, October 17
• Parade begins in the 700 block of W. Main at 2:00 p.m.
• Denison High School Band plays in Heritage Park before and after parade
• Downtown Denison businesses open from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Eisenhower’s Birthplace is located at 609 S. Lamar Avenue in Denison, TX. Open Tuesday – Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tour admission is $4 for adults and $4 for students ages 6-18 with ID. Children under 5 are free.