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Bruce Cole to Join Eisenhower Memorial Panel

Former chairman of the National Council of the Humanities and adviser to the National Civic Art Society Bruce Cole has been named to the Eisenhower Memorial panel, AP News reports. Cole has been an outspoken critic of Frank Gehry’s “metal tapestry” design, and will join a panel of 10 other commissioners to oversee the project’s development.

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Washington: The Classical City

Last June, the Program on American Citizenship teamed with the National Civic Art Society to present a panel discussion on the important role that memorials play in civic life, using the recent controversies over the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the proposed Eisenhower Memorial to guide the conversation. You can watch the full discussion between panelists Michael J. Lewis (Williams College), Roger Scruton (AEI), Bruce Cole (Hudson Institute) and Diana Schaub (Loyola University Maryland) here. In the January 17th issue of the Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse, the National Civic Art Society continued the conversation.

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To increase knowledge of civics, try teaching civics

Responding to the new study by the Educational Testing Service, “Fault Lines in Our Democracy: Civic Knowledge, Voting Behavior, and Civic Engagement in the United States” (which we covered here), the Hudson Institute’s Bruce Cole has an op-ed in the Washington Examiner that takes issue with the report’s suggested corrective measures to increase students’ civic knowledge and levels of civic engagement.

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2011 Top books for citizenship

Inspired by our friends at NCoC and the Claremont Institute, the Program thought it would try its hand at a best-of-the-year list for books on citizenship:

  • What So Proudly We Hail: The American Soul in Story, Speech, and Song, edited by Amy A. Kass, Leon R. Kass, and Diana Schaub. An anthology of 74 great American short stories, speeches, and songs. Reacquaint yourself with classics, both old and new, with selections by Jack London, Edward Everett Hale, Frederick Douglass, Ring Lardner, O. Henry, Flannery O’Connor, and many more.
  • Conserving Liberty by Mark Blitz. A spirited defense of American civic virtue. Claremont McKenna College professor Mark Blitz reminds us that individual liberty alone cannot produce happiness. To secure our rights and use them successfully, we need certain virtues: responsibility, toleration, individual excellence, and self-government.
  • Teaching America: The Case for Civic Education. Editor David Feith lines up a cast of civic-minded all-stars–Rick Hess (AEI), Peter Levine (CIRCLE), Bruce Cole (Hudson Institute), and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor–to argue for reinvigorating civic education in our nation’s schools. Look for great things to come as Feith launches the Civic Education Initiative with top charter network Democracy Prep Public Schools.
  • Failing Liberty 101: How We Are Leaving Young Americans Unprepared for Citizenship in a Free Society. Another fine volume on the importance of civic education by noted scholar William Damon. Damon was moved to write Failing Liberty after interviewing American high-school students about what U.S. citizenship meant to them. The results, as described in this book, are deeply troubling, raising “the very real possibility that our democracy will be left in the hands of a citizenry unprepared to govern it and unwilling the make the sacrifices needed to preserve it.”
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Doing right by Ike

In the last few weeks, The Weekly Standard has published two articles discussing Dwight D. Eisenhower and the proposed memorial in honor of him, designed by architect Frank Gehry.

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Monumental Fights: The Role of Memorials in Civic Life

Over the past year, the recently dedicated Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Memorial and the planned Eisenhower Memorial have renewed controversy about the meaning and purpose of public memorials. What do America’s memorials and monuments tell us about our nation and our identity as citizens? How should we memorialize past events and individuals?

At an event on Friday, May 18, 2012, that was co-sponsored by AEI’s Program on American Citizenship and theNational Civic Art Society, a distinguished panel discussed the important role of public memorials in civic life, using the recent controversies over the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Memorial and the proposed Eisenhower Memorial to guide the conversation.

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Eisenhower memorial criticism all around

As criticism of the proposed memorial has grown, so too have attacks on the critics. Writing in the Architectural Record about the Program’s recent event on memorials, Ben Adler characterized the monument’s critics as simply conservative “curmudgeons” who will “always revile Modernism for both ideological and aesthetic reasons.”

Responding to Adler in the same journal, the Program’s Gary Schmitt and Cheryl Miller write, “In defending architectural Modernism, Adler falls into the very trap he warns against.”

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Event re-cap: Monumental Fights


Missed Friday’s discussion on “Monumental fights: The role of memorials in civic life”? Don’t worry–you can watch the video of the event here, read about it it in the Washington Examiner, or check out our event re-cap.

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Revising Eisenhower–and his Memorial

The Washington Examiner reports that revisions to the proposed Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial will be revealed on Tuesday.

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The problems with Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial

In our preparation for May 18’s discussion panel at AEI on “Monumental Fights: The Role of Memorials in Civic Life” (register at the link), we bring you another essay by a panel participant discussing the importance of proper memorials to honor our great statesmen. In this selection from First Things, Eric Wind and Erik Bootsma, both of the National Civic Art Society (with whom we are co-sponsoring the event), raise concerns about Frank Gehry’s proposed Eisenhower Memorial and the way the design process was conducted.

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A nation of historical amnesiacs

In March, an Independent Task Force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations released its report, U.S. Education Reform and National Security. The Task Force, chaired by Joel Klein, former head of New York City public schools, and Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. secretary of state, warns that “education failure puts the United States’ future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk.” The lack of adequate civic education played a large part in the report’s scathing indictment, with the Task Force noting that, in addition to K-12 schools failing to teach students adequate math and science skills, they “are also neglecting to teach civics, the glue that holds our society together.”

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Upcoming event: Monumental Fights

Over the past year, the recently dedicated Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Memorial and the planned Eisenhower Memorial have renewed controversy about the meaning and purpose of public memorials. What do America’s memorials and monuments tell us about our nation and our identity as citizens? How should we memorialize past events and individuals? In this event, co-sponsored by the Program on American Citizenship and the National Civic Art Society, a distinguished panel will address these questions and comment on the MLK and Eisenhower memorials.

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