tv Book TV CSPAN December 5, 2010 3:15am-4:30am EST
alternatives to the established political order. people would react against that on policy grounds, many in ways involving a level of activism that is reflected in my book is not a sign of racism but a sign of the diversity of the american people facing issues as they take them and making judgments however difficult or acceptable they may be to this audience. i would thank you for your kindness, thank you fore prograr
[applause] >> thank you very much. it's a pleasure to be here. i salute the veterans and the people in the armed services who are still in uniform introduced in many different ways. julie eisenhower is about the best introduction by can think of. the hidden great friends through thick and thin. i think their next venture should be skin-care products because i've known them since 1973 and they do not look one day older than they did then. something is going on here. today is veterans day. we remember the men and women that of our war every single one of them and every single battle.
today, not the actors who lives a few dozen miles west of here are the stars that keep america brent and the battles they fought and still fight or. of all battles america ever fought, we as a nation have never fought a bitter war mechem the invasion of nazi occupied europe. one of the great military ventures of all time, certainly one of the very most consequential because of its dramatic effect on victory in europe and because of its meaning in keeping the major countries of western europe free of communism after. the key figure in this campaign is the anglo-american fighting man. but of all of these, the key man was dwight david eisenhower. david has chronicled the period spectacularly already and it's a classic of history and biography. rightly what he called the crusading europe general eisenhower went on to become one of the great presidents of american history.
peace, progress and prosperity was the republican slogan in 1956 and was a great summary of the nation that eisenhower were led from 1953 to 1961. he kept us out of the war when it seemed inevitable. he kept a tight lid on government spending and government deficits were either new or tiny on his watch >> the budget surplus was richard nixon. >> most of all, the nation made a u-turn for one of the most explicitly racist nations on earth in 1954 towards integration and racial equality after 1954. this was a turbulent time in which the deep were invited they could have led to the national catastrophe. the fact that the nation may change fairly smoothly is that i believe to be miraculously sold and strong leadership by president eisenhower. other leaders talk the talk and walk the walk. >> i was just on cnn with larry
king, a good friend of julianna and david and someone was saying president obama a bitter campaign for president? and none of the commentators on the show set of course he is a better campaigner because all you have to do when you are a campaigner is talk and when you are a president you have to do something. [applause] but this is in on president obama. the other leaders talk the talk and all like walked the walk. he didn't just talk of getting things done he got them done without hype and dramatics and he left us in 1961 a nation in better shape in many ways than it would ever be again. but what did president general eisenhower want to be called after he left office? that is what david and julie's book that we are talking about today is about. it is a biography and a memoir was a beloved general who left office how he appeared as
extremely phenomenally attempted grandson and what it was like as a man elder statesman, husband, father, grandfather and human being. no man is a hero says the famous quote but while she's here to david and to the whole world, david and julie to the great biographical surface of letting us in on some ways to dwight eisenhower was more of a suburban dad and granddad more like ozzie nelson the in a five-star general routine, his taste in literature, he famously left westerns, everyone knows that but only those who know when and is his obsession with bridge, and even his own playing it perfectly to it's fascinating to see how he worked with such extraordinary gentleman restraints of policy but in a way party personalities. i would tell any more about the book. this is david and julie and's show. let's just say this is a serious book and the fact it has hilarious moments, genuinely laugh out loud moments how he
deals with it. it makes it all the more serious. this is a portrait of a man and a hero. this is an uplifting book to read because it describes the genuinely great man. but there was also to be a disturbing book because we don't seem to have many men or women of his character and self discipline on the scene right now. he is a man-made of greater stuff than we seem to have now. from greeter times than we have now. perhaps we can use this book as a yardstick to measure present and future national leaders. if we do, i'm afraid they are going to look pretty puny. our satloff, but with a gift to have had general eisenhower. now i introduce you to too great friends and biographers, david and julie eisenhower. [applause]
>> thank you. [applause] >> it is so wonderful to be back in yorba linda and to be here with so many special friends, with my uncle and my aunt, cindy quinn, my beloved honor a sister, and also to have carl anthony with us. he is the foremost historian on first ladies, and when dave teaches his class at the university of pennsylvania, carl anthony is the first one poster in projects on first ladies consult. but most of all, i mean, aren't we lucky and many things in life but to have somebody like been -- ben stein as a friend. [applause] the best through thick and thin and we loved his parents,
mildred and herb stein. when we signed a early copy to ben when we knew he was going to be a will to come to yorba linda to do the introduction we inscribed in memory of heard and meldrim because they were in the nixon administration, part of the whole group of extraordinary men and women who served the country so well in those years and i think they represent so many great qualities about this country. as dan mack said and sandy said so eloquently it is veterans day and so david and i would like to dictate our talks to amend and women serving today to make us so proud to be americans every day. [applause] >> of course you know that eisenhower and nixon were wartime presidents. when i collected and 52 america was at war in korea.
when my father was elected in 1958, we were deeply at war with vietnam. we fought more than half a million, 550,000 young men were fighting in vietnam when life author took office. believe me, not one day went by during my father's presidency until the war ended in january january 1973 that my family didn't think of the troops and didn't think the 591 pows who were suffering in north vietnam and who my father refused to abandon. i think that you can understand why one of the most moving things that has happened to me since my father left the presidency was to meet a former p.o.w. from san diego with few years ago and he told me that whatever they have their reunion that he and his comrades, quote, we always said a place at the table for your dad.
[applause] now the book that we present today, going home to glory, is a five-star general dwight d. eisenhower and this is an individual who knew better than anyone the pain and agony of sending men into battle, and i think one of the most moving stories in the book is how in 1963, ike went back to normandy to meet walter cronkite and to recapture the day 20 years later. and he was getting ready to go out there to the american cemetery overlooking omaha beach. you know the scene, row after row of markers and crosses, and he told a cbs producer fred friendly you know, tomorrow i've got to go out there and speak to these families who lost sons and husbands and fathers at normandy. alladi who came out of the war
with enough glory to carry me on to other things. and he was agitated, he was humbled. and somehow though in the morning when he did go back to those beaches this is what he said and written to capture it well. he said i devoutly hope that we will never again have to see scenes such as these. these young men gave us a chance and they bought time for us so that we could do better than we've done before so i feel about the date 20 years ago now i say once more we must find some way to work to gain and the eternal peace for this world. [applause] those are the words of dwight eisenhower. he was an incredible figure and that is why i'm so glad i had an opportunity to work with the fifth on this book. we've had a partnership and marriage for 41 years, but i have to say that the highlight so far has been the opportunity
to do this book to get their. so i feel a little bit sentimental being here at the nixon library because 100 that richard nixon still in the navy uniform in 1946 to run against an incumbent. does it sound familiar? kind of almost 80 party sense that the end of the war they were fed up, they wanted change, they wanted new people. richard nixon was in that class, and the reason i say i feel sentimental being here and the book is that let's face it david and i are together because that magical pinch of politics sprinkled over our lives and we were 8-years-old when we met. it was the 1957 inaugural show of dwight eisenhower and richard nixon and there are even photographs of a stake in the day to prove that we were there. there is a picture of david staring at me because i had a
great big black guy. [laughter] i had been in a sledding accident the week before. there had been snow in washington and i lost control of my sled and went into a tree so i had a beautiful shiner. so when the photographers gathered that that inaugural parade to take a photograph of the president and his grandchildren with his vice president and tricia and me, president eisenhower leaned down to me and whispered now, julie, you look this way and they won't see your black eye so i looked this way at an extremely acute 8-year-old and they took the pictures, and when david and i were engaged in years later president eisenhower gave me a framed copy of the total and here is what he inscribed on it, to julie nixon, leaving them unknowingly seemed to have gained an ad -- admierer but it
wasn't until quote we finally got together because she wore her grandson down, you've got to look to the up. so david can afford to call on me at smith college and took me out for a dish of ice cream, discovered he spent all of his money on the cab ride over. i had to pay for his chocolate and my strawberry. [laughter] so the weak leader he got up the courage to come back and had one of those experiences that almost the real of the romance. david recalls even he felt a little bit sheepish when he presented himself to the young woman on duty in my dorm and said hello, david eisenhower and i would like to see julie nixon, and the girl gave him a long look and said yeah, and i am harry truman. [laughter] ..
what i decided to do today was to just share with you just a tiny bit of ike's with him because he just wasn't shy about sharing his little maxims on life with his grandson or with me or any of the young people he came into contact with, so i had fun gathering for of ike's lessons on life i called them and if you listen to them i think you will agree that there are great lessons on life but they are also good for relationships and partnerships.
after all, ike and mimi were married for 52 years. first lesson from ike. stand firm and stand for some thing. have principles. he called them the building blocks of character, hard work, worthy ambition, commonsense, integrity integrity and moral courage. here is the example of dwight eisenhower standing firm in "going home to glory." two weeks before david and i got married ike from his hospital bed at walter reed offered david $100 if he would cut his mop of curly hair for our wedding. now i have to tell you $100 is a lot of money in 1968. dave did get a light trim but it was an short enough for ike and he did not pay. stand firm. [laughter] the second principle of life from ike, gren and fight. eisenhower box at west point and
he was also an all-american football player. he was a great athlete, and in his political life he often use metaphors about boxing to talk to their supporters and he also talked to david through boxing. he likes to tell the story of an encounter at west point with a very fine boxer who was a 40 pounds heavier and ike describes how he got knocked down and kept getting knocked down and staggered back up and finally in ike's words he looked kind of rueful. his opponent took off his love, threw them in the corner and said well, i am done boxing with you and so ike asked why in the boxer said, if you can't smile when you get up from a knockdown, you are never going to and employment. eisenhower made that lesson part of his life, and telling public supporters if you see someone irritating you, just grin. once in a while in life he
continued, when they throw a haymaker at you, so what? you don't win a campaign in one battle. you when a campaign by sticking everlastingly to it. grann and fight. eisenhower lesson number three on life. forgive. forgiveness is one of the most powerful forces in life. in "going home to glory" david describes the summer that he turned 13 and he was hired to work on his grandfather's farm. he had the great job of painting the fences, weeding the vegetables. he also had a two day a week job at gettysburg college and he was much more just in that job. you know he was a teenager and he admits he had several lapses of concentration when he was working on the farm. it cause particularly one lunch hour when he and a friend kept playing honeymoon bridge in the small been president eisenhower's small dent at the
farm. they had mistakenly were under the impression that ike had gone back downtown so 12:45 became 1:00 and 1:00 became 1:15 and 115 became 1:30 and all of a sudden the office door crashes open. the general appears. his lips were moving but david was so paralyzed with fear that he could only process three words, you are fired. [laughter] ike and david had a golf game scheduled for that afternoon. at 4:15 the general's black imperial chrysler grinds up to the door. ike is in the car, they go to gettysburg country club and play their first hole in total silence. they play the whole second game in total silence. on the third hole near the putting green, the general retired dave. illustrating alexander poke
maxim's to ere is human, to forgive divine. the last lesson on life from ike, face life with courage. i don't think dwight eisenhower was afraid of much in life and that is why perhaps you is so formidable and sometimes unapproachable. but that doesn't mean that ike, like the rest of us, didn't wonder and reflect upon that great unknown of life, namely death. and it is the way that eisenhower met his death that personifies to me the lesson, the last lesson i want to share with you, which is courage. it was election year, 1968 and dwight eisenhower leigh at walter reed army hospital. he had suffered seven heart attacks. the last one following the speech he made from his hospital room when he exhorted to the republican convention to nominate richard nixon. between campaign stops, david and i try to visit his
grandfather as often as we could and i will never forget the evening that we came into his hospital room. we were a little bit late arriving at the hospital because our plane had and delayed and the nurses told us that the general was quite anxious for us to get there. and when we went through those double doors into the presidential suite, we saw that the nurses had propped general eisenhower up on the bed with some pillows. he was so thin and so frail and the stark white of the sheets made his mesmerizing blue eyes seem even bluer. and the moment he spotted us -- he had stuck a nixon sticker and in agnew sticker. [laughter] he had spirit and courage to the very end. in the eisenhower family
graveyard in elizabeth hill, pennsylvania, not far from the gettysburg farm where a ike and mamie spend their retirement years there is a still visible inscription on an 1874 tombstone of ike's 37-year-old aunt, lydia eisenhower. it reads, i am "going home to glory," a golden crown to where, oh meet me, and meet me over there. dwight d. eisenhower did go home to glory in every sense of the word, and it was a privilege for me to help david tell his story and it is a privilege to be back in yorba linda with so many wonderful friends. thank you. [applause] [applause]
>> julie, thank you. they say we have been arguing over which stories to tell. she told a lot of them. [laughter] ed nixon, ron walker, sandy quinn, ben and carl, thanks for having us here today. i will give you some background on this book. "going home to glory" is the title of the book proposal that we circulated to new york publishers in the summer of 1976 julie and i had moved to new york from washington that summer and ben stein, our host today, encouraged us to start considering some publishing interests that he had been countered about us, and so we circulated his proposal and we did so at ben's suggestion. we were seeing a lot of ben in those days, both in new york and in washington when he was a young editorial writer. one of the youngest in the history, one of the best.
he authored an article that made a big impression on us and i don't know if ben remembers this, but we do. it was an article entitled bunkhouse logic and while i do not remember the particulars of this article, the gist of it went sort of as follows. if you can't achieve or win anything in life unless you are at the table. now, there are other ways of raising the morals of this article. it means, don't step back from challenges and opportunities, or if you do don't bother others talking about it. don't talk about it, and do it of course when it is possible for you to do this. i doubt there are very many people out there with ben stein matt's ability to live a life of longhouse logic. the versatility of this band and his genius for writing fiction and nonfiction about society and economics and about grand
strategy we can't all go out and pursue ideas in quite the way ben has. but i think the bunkhouse logic was very important in our approach here. he was a goad -- at goal to set for yourself the task of doing that which sooner or later simply has to be done. ben gave us encouragement. we have got a lot of encouragement along the way. one of the ways this book opens, as i said myself as a young person i am literally becoming a teenager in the opening pages of this book that i digress to the age of 10, which is when a couple of things happen. happened. first time it ended to the family business which is our farm at gettysburg and second i received a family bible. third i get an accordion folder for the short stories that i plan to write that here. i always wanted to be a novelist. now thanks to the record of,
presidential records keeping and we are here to at the nixon library and foundation, with a fabulous collection, probably the greatest collection on the presidency and so forth. there are similar records in abilene, kansas. thanks thanks too bad i am one of the few published others in america that can actually produce a copy of the first novel i ever wrote. [laughter] did this is when i'm tenure so. i'm in the white house. i had a cousin by the name of janet thompson. she made a huge impression on me so i wrote the novel in the summer of 1958 entitled, janet stinks. according to the end wittman records, and wittman was dwight eisenhower's secretary, she sat in the office in the oval office where the secretary said today she notes on july 15 david age 10 came in bearing the manuscript of the short story and i walked up to the president secretary and i said please type this up. [laughter]
so she went to work and type that the manuscript of janet and it turns out july 15, 1958 with a great day to have a copy, a printed copy of your first novel on him. we walked over to the xerox machine and ran off a number of copies because marines were landing in lebanon that morning so you get a picture of the west wing of the white house, the cabinet meeting recessing on the national security council meeting recessing. we put it on sale for 15 cents and sold the first printing in 25 minutes. [laughter] and i got the thing that is precious and there is no substitute for it, and that was encouragement. i had two heroes as a boy. in fact there is a major book out on one of the now and that is mickey mantle and richard nixon. i was certain richard nixon would succeed my grandfather in 1960. i was looking forward to that. i was interested in every aspect of it. this is the first time, july 15,
1958 they make them. he walks up to me in a gray suit and he says what is this? i said this is my first book. he said how much does it cost? i said 15 cents. he didn't have 15 cents so an aide reach for it. two days later i get a letter from the vice president blessed dear david the family gathered in the living room to read it. we all agree you are one of our favorite authors. [laughter] [applause] dallasites are manned mission there were other reasons to do this book. beginning with the subject matter. i think the subject matter, which is a president and retirement, has been shortchanged. if you think about the topic of a post-presidency ought to be one that a lot of writers take up. one of the best books that julie and i have read in recent years is candace balart's river of doubt. which was done about the restless theodore roosevelt, who worked off the shock of his
defeat in 1912 by hazard being an exploration of our uncharted regions of the amazon river basin, almost dying in the process. this is a recurring story and american national politics and i think it is a significant one. this is the separation of the national leader from actual power. this is something that occurs in accordance with law beginning was dwight eisenhower who is the first president to be term limited under the operation of the 22nd amendment. if you think about it, this is an interesting topic. powerful, charismatic individuals laid down the mantle of the presidency who in most places in the world would rule perpetually. they are obliged under our system and to set a democratic example here at home to fashion a sort of new constitutional order and i think there is a lot of drama in that. i also think it is possible that
as a president surrenders power to know this individual for a better because the layers of official staff are being peeled away and what is left is the character of the individual who has made this impact on history. in "going home to glory" kortright eisenhower is not undertaking theodore roosevelt's journey of doubt in quite the same way, but he probably had plenty to doubt as he left washington in 1961. the defeat of the republicans in 1960 came as a very unpleasant surprise. dwight eisenhower had few illusions of what the defeat in 1960 manned for his political legacy and for the republican party. it was not quite as crushing or as direct as t.r.'s defeat in 1912 but in many ways, you could argue that it was more insidious because the setback to the eisenhower presidency then was not acknowledged and they could
get away with not really acknowledging it and you this was a very real thing and it drove him forward as a former president. he did not navigate either because he was older man than teddy roosevelt was in 1913 and 1914 and he was worldly. as glory -- is "going home to glory" opens, by the spring of 1961 he is a general. he reemerges in partisan politics in 1962 and they narrate that, but truly throughout this book he becomes granddad and he becomes a farmer and he becomes my boss and he becomes my neighbor. spiritually what he is doing is he is moving back in time and spiritually becomes a cadet and he returns to his ordinance in abilene. as he does that my sisters and i are growing up. he grows old in this book and we
grow up. we worked for him. julie told that story also. [laughter] about my adventure in 1963. if you ever get to the eisenhower farms, just keep this in mind. if you get to the eisenhower farms admire the fences. i painted the fence is five times. [applause] so i painted fences and yes i did overstay that welcome. i played golf with them a lot and we tell all stories are i tell a lot of golf stories in this. he was a hilarious coffer. he had a huge temper and so forth. he did not i don't think fully appreciate the effect of his temper on others. however, his most, i would say outspoken rounds were often some of his best or his most, and so forth. he is somebody who took golf and everything very seriously.
we describe him in this book is a painter, a hunter, as a farmer, a former baseball player. in fact, one of the stories i enjoyed retreating is one that we encountered out here in california, and that was julie's dad and i went to the big a a number of times. flo we got to know out there was red patterson who was a former director of public relations for california. he told me about accompanying general eisenhower to the grounds and confronting him with evidence that organized people had. dwight eisenhower had played professional baseball in 1909 and 1910 in a league based in kansas under the alias of wilson patterson general we illuminate according to our records there were two wilson sanofi. which one where you? he said the one that would get hit. [laughter]
so he is a ballplayer, he was a call for, and gradually as he became more confined and as his health failed, he becomes not only all these things, grandfather or whatever, he becomes a friend and it is in this era that i believe dwight eisenhower's character really comes through. there other reasons to look at the 1960s as well. early to the middle 1960s is the hour before daylight for the republican party. when eisenhower leaves office in 1961 there is a feeling, and my grandfather colleges this in the papers, a feeling among politicians and pundits in washington that the eisenhower presidency again a complete anomaly. he would live in "going home to glory" to see richard nixon elected in november of 1968 and he would have died knowing that he was not an anomaly, that he was a first, not the only,
republican president in a line of republican presidencies that would dominate the white house for the next 40 to 50 years. the early 1960s is an intense phase of the cold war. the cuban missile crisis is indeed perhaps the most dangerous moment of the cold war and i show here how presidents and dwight eisenhower sort of rallied to president kennedy's request for bipartisan support and that period. we find ourselves segueing into changing times, a tremendous move in civil rights as well as the rise of conservatism which segues into the vietnam war and as we segue into the vietnam war suddenly this question of dwight eisenhower's republican party activities and his ambitions for the republican party, the future of richard nixon begins to emerge. this is the point in which julie and i meet and our stories begin
to emerge and this entire story comes together. a story told in part in yorba linda, a story told in part in abilene and the story that exists exist in our minds. i want to second julie's observation about how special it is to be here in yorba linda. it is the birthplace and library foundation. i think of friends that we have spent time with. today with that, dedication of this institution 20 years ago and i remembered it was almost and hilarious event because everybody who had been veterans of the new hampshire campaign and so forth, we got together for one more event, one more rally to remind ourselves what a wonderful thing we were all part of. the supporters of the nixon library and birthplace foundation have been parts of nixon campaigns or they are related to people who have a think all of this us had anything to do with it would not
trade those years for anything. so we have a lot in common including important parts of this story. we have these things in common. i think of the fate that drew julie and me together and smith and amherst in the fall of 1966. she is right and it was not going to call on her. i overheard somebody in the front seat saying did you hear that ike's grandson is -- wait until we get them together. i did get up the nerve -- my grandmother insisted i call on her. julie is right, forgot my money and spend my money on the cab so she's -- pay the first time. i kept getting up the nerve to go back and i realize we had so much in common and it was really through julie that entirely an entirely new world opens up to me. that was the world of ideas and experiences in a national
campaign. i think also when i'm here today at this place in an amazing association that i journal i am looking back to the first time i visited the nixon library and birthplace foundation and this was in the late '80s. i was with maureen's dad. just the two of us drove out here shortly after the nixon foundation had acquired this idea of creating the institution that is here now. and we walked through the nixon birthplace and i was stunned. i had experienced that knocked me out and that was i realized i was walking through and almost perfect replica of the dwight d. eisenhower boyhood home. it was the same building. the same furnishings, the same brothers, the same personalities, mother and father. i had always thought of richard nixon and dwight eisenhower as distinct individuals but it was
than i came to appreciate what similar american stories they represented, with similar imaginings which were captured in poetry by richard nixon who described the sound of trains at night leading to the wider world beyond. i also want to say how special it is to be in this east room today. you know what? it is actual better than the east room as far as i'm concerned. this is a creation made possible by catherine volcker who is been part of so many great events that we have followed and been part of including a special one we are having today on veterans day and i want to thank you on behalf of our family, the eisenhower's word dedicating this to the memory of dwight eisenhower. november 11 when i was growing up is called armistice day. does actually a different celebration but i think the ideas the same and that is we set aside a day to acknowledge her history and to try to
understand their history better, to admire the qualities for our veterans and to acknowledge the debt that we all over them for defending freedom both at home and abroad in our long and glorious history. veteran themes run throughout "going home to glory." my grandfather was somebody who was very conscious of the importance of appreciating the sacrifices of american gis particularly the ones who flawed overseas in the 20th century and american wars refight overseas in the 20th century. in "going home to glory," clearing gettysburg pennsylvania. granddad's choice in retirement was to associate himself with the story of that great battle and so i grew up surrounded by the history of armed conflict in america and the great story of the american civil war. it comes up in correspondence. we reproduce a lot of correspondence between me and my grandfather, mostly what was to me. julie quoted from one actually
to quote elsewhere in the same letter. i was talking to hugh hewitt who was a wonderful guy and has been long involved in the nixon library. i was talking to hewitt or the other day and he mentioned veterans day in the first came the came to mind was the admonition from dwight eisenhower to me on september 26, 1962. he begins and he says the date above does not mean anything to you because you were a young man but this is the date of the opening, exactly 44 years from now. you are too young to appreciate the significance of this day but it is important for you to do so and you will do so in time. i believe that i did so in time. a final note we would say about this book that we all have in common i would say is that this is a family story. politics, and my grandfather was involved in politics in the 1960s so to a degree it is
about politics but it is really a family story. julie and i have an interview about it not long ago in our home and a reporter from "the philadelphia inquirer" showed up and he was burying the copy of the book that he and his brothers and sisters had written about their grandfather. and it was in that moment i think i recognized and knew that i think it is human nature, people need to make a record of the people who are special in their lives, perhaps a patriarch, perhaps a great woman and so forth. and the story of the generations is something that gives people an awful lot to say. we had all of us on our minds and we wanted to say it back in 1976 until we finally found a way. there is no effort and "going home to glory" to alter the image of a historical figure who is a commander in the european front in 1944 in 1945 or his image as presidency or to
burnish in anyway at least least in this volume i think the record of progress in the 50s and it was remarkable and civil rights, space in the creation of a national highway program and so forth. it is instead to expand the understanding of him, to make a record that the days that we feel he should be remembered for as well, the days in gettysburg where it was possible to know him and to receive his advice and tips for healthy living, to receive his guidance and support, to receive as many gifts in the form of time and attention and above all to observe the example he set of serenity and religious faith of his frank acceptance of his limitations and infirmities, by his optimism, his love for others and his ability to shoulder responsibility and his profound faith in america's future. and so we made a record of it and a record of it and publication of it is a chance for a reunion.
ben has published 30 odd books. ben you know there is an easier way to have her reunion but there could not be a more meaningful way to have a reunion. today is very meaningful. we have are turned to a site that has inspired us at every step along the way and we are glad to have this opportunity to present "going home to glory." thank you. [applause] >> now we have got time for a couple of questions. if you have a question go ahead and raise your hand and i will come by with a microphone. >> we would love to answer questions. >> if you have a question just go ahead and raise your hand and they will come by with the mic. do you have any questions?
>> i happen to be with president nixon -- i was with president nixon on the day president eisenhower died and we zoomed up to walter reed hospital. i didn't go in with him but he went up to this week, came out of the suite in tears, sobbing and sobbing. i had never seen him cry again until many years until mrs. nixon died. it was a very significant french are. >> that was jack renan, who was is my dad's military's marina aid in the white house, served his country with great distinction and after the resignation jack came out and was chief of staff for my dad. i remember my father crying too. >> i was going to say something. the eisenhower nixon relationship is actually of interest to historians in a big way. and factually and i have been talking with a man who was actually going to base a book on that.
and the scenes that you are talking about jack, are ones that i remember as my answer to everybody. not only comic you know there was a clash between the two that one might expect. one of the relationships we cover in "going home to glory" as a clash between dwight eisenhower and douglas macarthur. and the reason they clashed is because eisenhower and macarthur, though serving together at an earlier point in their career could not have recognized that macarthur had the stuff of a commander of an entire war front in world war ii and so did eisenhower. it is not surprising that these people had differences of opinion. in dwight eisenhower you have a two-term president. richard nixon, two-term president elected on his own power. it is amazing that these people did not clash more than they did and, what stands out in my mind is the warmth between the two
and appointing, and. i'm not just talking mystically about workplace over here which in every respect is a replica of but i'm also talking about a shared american experience, the way they crossed america. the groups from europe that were forbearers, they just intersect one point after another. we are not quite cousins we don't thing. [laughter] >> my cousin marine is doing a genealogy. >> we got along real well, kind of immediately. >> david. >> ben, go ahead. >> you you are both historians. you have both observed the world at large, the big picture. is there any hope in afghanistan? is there any hope of a satisfactory resolution of that situation? >> resolution of what? >> of the situation in afghanistan. [laughter]
>> hot potato. you know, to be honest, -- [inaudible] [applause] >> i think there is something, you know in principle. i think that people do not want to be converted and they resist the use of force in principle. i think our intervention in afghanistan and iraq are very troubled. by the same token, you look back over 100 years. you look at events in iraq today what has not happened since the
end of our combat involvement in iraq was announced several months ago and so forth, and one wonders, dwight eisenhower really believe that the united states had tremendous amount to share in an obligation to share it with the world and he saw the example of americans making such a difference as to julie's dad. i think they will both be known by the way as people who made a great deal of difference in america's relations with the world. risibly foreign-policy presidency is another thing that eisenhower and nixon have in common. i don't think that -- i think afghanistan in 1959 and 1960 as dwight dwight eisenhower said existed in the sufferance of nikita khrushchev. this would have been a problematic theater to invest troops but the soviet union has
gone. the united states has made a great difference in the way it has intervened around the world, and it could well be that we may make a difference here. i think it is going well. i think it -- the afghans are not going to give us the satisfaction of saying that we have converted to your point of view in every particular and they will never give us that satisfaction. karzai made that very clear but i think the intervention will over time proved to make the world safer. [applause] do you want to add to that? >> david and julie, and in my four years with jack at the white house i did a lot of funerals. at the very first funeral i was asked to do was president dwight d. eisenhower, for your father and it was a spectacular
international cathedral. it was one of those moments i will never forget for. >> ron, thank you. [applause] that is exactly where this book ends. that was my 21st birthday, march 31, 1968. 1969. i was 21 on that day. and so this is the trajectory of this book. suddenly dwight eisenhower's coming home to gettysburg as a former president and he will become a general comedy, grandfather and so forth and my sisters and i are growing up. and literally the became of age that day. but the story that comes through here is of what it was like to grow up around a figure like this. i have been asking the question all of my life so here is the unified answer. what was it like? above all, to appreciate the care during of this individual
who made such a difference, what kind of person was bad and it really came through in the years where it was possible to know him in the end. and. ron, exactly u.n. jeb brennan and all of us got together at walter reed on march 20 through march 31, 1969. >> i loved the book and the question i have is, when you went off to high school your grandfather wrote you a letter because sergeant money had indicated that he wanted his grandfather to give you possibly a portrait of you to bring to college. what was your decision? >> a painting of my granddad to hang in my room at college. he was always giving me little dde pens that he got and ike ties. and he was giving me these things to give to girls to impress the girls and so forth. [laughter]
this comes through all over and looking back over the correspondence you know my first reaction was the kind of cringed a little bit because i remember not passing these things along and being a little embarrassed by this suggestion but then i thought, you know, we are grandparents. he just wanted us this to be proud of him and we want our grandchildren to be proud of us. [applause] so i thought that was, so i think he had the satisfaction of knowing that i carried his name very proudly and now all these years later's in and away the people assembled family histories i think we express our appreciation to him and here we are -- julie has done this for her family as well and pat nixon acknowledging the people to phone we owe a great dad and who we admire going forward scene
who is this book? >> it's a book that rescued the cuban rafters escaping communist cuba in the 1990s. >> why did it have to be formed? >> well, when government doesn't provide or suffice, then -- and you have a community oriented necessity, you have to take action on your own, and this is something that is called -- i organized a group of pilots to work in the straits of florida and fly missions in tandem to locate the rafters coming out from cuba seeking freedom in the united states and fleeing the disaster of that island. >> what was the government policy that said brothers to the rescue in motion? >> well, the government -- there was no really government policy that set them in motion.
what happened that called motion? >> well, it was all result of cuba's failed policies probably and people left by any means they could possibly come up with, and there was all of sudden a surge of rafters leaving cuba, and one day, one young rafter, 15 years old, the coast guard filmed the rescue and died in the arms of the agent, and it was seen on the news and said we have to do something about this and that's how brothers to the rescue got started. >> when government doesn't suffice with what they provide, it's the coast guard that was extremely helpful to us and without them, we couldn't do our job. to find the rafters, that was our job and community's interest, and we implemented brothers to the rescue to provide for that need. >> how did you train the pilots, where did you find them, and what is sea gull one?
>> okay. seagull one is my sign as a pilot. i was seagull one making the radio calls to the other pilots in the formations that we flew to locate the rafters. the other pilots were from 19 nationalities who joined us in their interest to help others and it was a matter of helping brothers, and some came to gain hours as pilots, but believe me after you flew one or two missions there, you were hooked with the idea of saving lives or you simply left. we have three brothers from argentina, the original brothers to rescue, and alberto and -- they were the first pilots to
all organize the group and locate the other pilots like themselves where young men were part of the community and were pilots already, so we recruited pilots and recruit observers in the rear seats of the plane and carried members of the press, and there was no mission we didn't carry a member of the press with us because we wanted to document what was happening there to, you know, make everything what was happening in cuba and the reasons they were leaving the island so no better way to say that than the image of a rafter, of o person floating in the middle of nowhere in an intertube. that's what we were doing. >> lily prellezo, what about the clinton administration? did they not assist? >> brothers to the rescue never asked the u.s. government for help monetary or otherwise. of course the u.s. coast guard
was instrumental because they lifted people out of the raft and saved their lives, but the clinton administration, what happened after the exodus of 1994 was that the policy changed, and the dry foot came about, and then it was no longer viable to be rescuing or flying mission to rescue people just returned to guantanamo or returned to cuba. >> wet foot, dry foot policy? >> if a cube ban were leaving cuba and touched dry land, he could be processed for immigration. if they were intercepted at sea, they were returned to guantanamo. >> i want to say in the clinton administration was instrumental in terminating and three of our airplanes and i was flying one
flew in a search and rescue mission and make cuba came after us and shot down two planes and i survived the third plane. the clinton administration was aware that the attack from cuba was going to take place. all they did was document the attack, and what they could have done which was giving us a word of or a notice that this was impending to us. all they did was document it, and no only that they interrupted regular procedure of the defenses of the aircraft from homestead air base would take off to interpret cuba, and that was automatic standard operating procedure was interrupted and it had to have been from the white house. they were told to stand down battle stations at the precise moments that brothers of rescue needed to prevent the shootdown,
so i am pointing me castle at castle for the shootdown, the natural enemy, and the clinton administration for aiding and abetting the shootdown of the brothers to the rescue plane. > were you in cuban air space? >> international air space, and no matter where we would have been, there's no reason for a mink airplane to go out there. civilian aircraft with civilian pilots when they have been notified we had a search and rescue mission and contacted by radio. they know what we are doing there. we had been doing it for years, and they chose to kill a at that time, and the u.s. government having previous knowledge did nothing to prevent it. >> now, there was a flight over cuba; is that correct? >> there has been -- we took flights over cuba on
three or four occasions in the past. one time the previous year, i flew over havana and there was a demonstration for the cuban people, but that day, nothing, and we were forced or would have dropped leaflets there from international air space to cuba. this may be hard to come prehepped to someone who is not a pilot, but when the air is in favorable conditions, you can put leaflets on the other side of cuba from international air space. >> how did you find this story, lily prellezo? >> well, the story was always there. it's how the story found me is how it happened. a mu chiewl friend introduced me to jose, and he wanted someone to write the story, but never
felt comfortable with anyone, so i feel honored i was chosen to write the story and i interviewed a hundred people to tell what it was like to be a brother or sister to the rescue. >> how many people were lost in this rescue operation? >> you mean? >> brothers to the rescue? >> four people were murdered when the planes were shot down. four men lost their lives. >> how many rafters do you estimate that you helped? >> by 1994, we had already rescued 4200 rafters running our missions, and then after that, we rescued 30-some thousand more by assisting the coast guard when the 1994 exodus from cuba came about. in our own efforts, 4200 saved
by the efforts of brothers to the rescue. >> were they returned to cuba? >> those 4200 no, and the 30,000 we assisted later, most of them weren't, and from then on the policy changed to the wet foot dry foot policy, and the government started sending them back to cuba and renamed them migrants. they were refugees actually because the conditions in cuba made them refugees. it was handled with is a map ticks as -- sigh systematics as usually and they went back which was sad because the united states was involved in as many circumstances that made it necessary for those people to come back to come to the united
states on 1962 i think it was or 63, the president then proclaimed the lull -- i'm forgetting, but it made it possible for the cubans to stay here and the law was not repealed or anything. it was just a mandate where the clinton administration to return them which has made so far the return of the cuban refugees possible back to the island, and -- >> now, tell us your history. when were you born in cuba, how did you get to the states #, and what's been your involvement in fighting the cube ban government? >> i was born in cuba, and as a young man, i was recruited by the cia, if you may, because we were working at the time with
the internal organization in cuba called the mr, and cia promised to us that they were going to give us all the help we needed to change the government of cuba to a demographic government. those were only words. that ended up and known later as bay of pigs. >> you were involved with that? >> yeah. i was sent back into cuba as a radio operator to send back information. in other words, intelligence to the u.s. on what was going on before the invasion, and everything they promised and said was going to be done on our behalf was simply betrayed. that included the invasion. >> now, what did your family do in cuba prior to your coming over to the states? >> my father used to work for a company, sugar sales, they were a u.s. company in cuba that, you know, was in the sugar
industry. the ironny was fidel castro coming to power was something that we didn't like, like at all. >> lily prellezo, tell us your background. >> i was born in cuba and came to the united states when i was 4 years old. my father was involved in the counterrevolution, so my older brothers and sisters had already come here, but my mother wanted me and my little sister out and put us on a plane by ourselves. i was 4 and she was 2. >> is that peter pan? >> no before that. that was 1960 but it was urgent that she had to put us on a plane, of course, it's only a 90 minute flight, but you know. when's the next time you saw your mother? >> i think a few months after that. >> she managed to get over? >> yeah, they came back and
forth my father and her. >> how strong is the cuban community now in southern florida? is it still loyal to the overthrow or have enough generations succeeded that it's less? >> it's less hard line in let's go to invade them. perhaps that sentiment is that strong, but there are people who would rather go and just, you know, invade physically, but i think there are more people open to speaking, opening relations, perhaps lifting the embargo. i know there's a lot of people that feel that way because they feel the only way to change things is to change it from within, and you can't if they don't have any information from outside, and that's the most important thing is to get information from the rest of the world inside of cuba. >> part of what bricks rescue, and that what made us a tart was
to promote single disobedience to promote nonviolent approach and reclaim human and civil rights of the cuban people. we started sending literature to the island and slogans like i am the change and that meant you assumed respondent for your circumstances, and if you want to change, we have to have it ourselves and not expect the u.s. to do it for us, and other messages like establishing our relationship to one another look the one that says let congress know brothers to not break that communication in cuba that the government had a footing to them to call each other and to us that was a bad word. we wanted to call each other brothers, and in the mission of brothers to the rescue, i say
the second object after the saving of lives was the first. in reaching the cuban communities with a message of we care about you. there is such thing as human solidarity. we are willing to risk our lives to save yours, and we will be there for you to assist you in the land that you decide to not take in anymore and come to the u.s. by whatever means. >> now, in the book, "seagull one," you identify the god mother. >> yes, i interviewed the congresswoman who is close friends with jose. she was there to take their needs to a higher place in the government. that's what god parents do. they know someone to get something for you that you can't get yourself, and she worked
tire leslie for brothers to the rescue. >> she got the coast guard to come to our call. >> fidel castro has stepped down, and has policy changed? is there more trade and travel between cuba? could you go back or lily, could you go back? >> i don't think i could go back to cuba. i think they would shoot me on site. they missed the first time, but i don't know that they would the second time. i don't think there's been changed or fidel castro as seized to be the ultimate voice on the io land and his brother consults with him and managing on a higher level the country for his brother, but nevertheless, it's still his brother. >> i would love to go back and have a book signing there. i would love to get this story inside of cuba.
it would be great. >> some are going back and forth. can you fly from miami? >> yes, you can. i don't have family there, and i would love the see the country where i was born because i don't remember anything and just the natural beauty there, i would love to see that, but i wouldn't feel comfortable at this time to go to cuba. >> we have been talking with l lily prellezo and jose, the mog true store --
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