WASHINGTON — Sir Winston Churchill's grandson, saluting Dwight D. Eisenhower on behalf of his wartime "comrades-in-arms," joined Americans today in honoring the man who led Allied armies to victory in World War II and became the 34th President of the United States.
"It was under the command of General Eisenhower that Europe--or at least half of it--was liberated," Winston S. Churchill told a joint meeting of Congress convened as part of a yearlong celebration marking the centennial of Eisenhower's birth on Oct. 14, 1890.
"How thrilled he and Churchill would be today, to see the peoples of Eastern Europe at last emerging as free nations from a nightmare of 50 years' occupation, first under the Nazis, then the Soviet Red Army," Churchill said.
"He will forever be revered among those nations who, like my own, were his comrades-in-arms and remembered with abiding gratitude by those nations which were liberated, under his command, from the most monstrous and vile tyranny that has ever defiled this Earth," Churchill said.
John S. D. Eisenhower, son of the Republican President who served from 1953 to 1961, said, "I believe he would like to be thought of simply as the Good Soldier."
"He walked with kings but never forgot his home in Abilene, Kansas," Eisenhower said. "He was the vaunted warrior who hated war. He was the five-star general who warned of the dangers of an unbridled military-industrial complex."
Walter Cronkite, retired CBS television news anchor, saluted Eisenhower as "the greatest hero of the greatest war in history."
Members of Eisenhower's family, including several great-grandchildren, and surviving members of his Administration joined senators and representatives in the chamber. Many wore red, white and blue "I Like Ike" buttons.
Eisenhower was born in Denison, Tex. When he was less than a year old, the family moved to Abilene, Kan.
The Dwight David Eisenhower Centennial Commission, established by Congress to observe the 100th anniversary, has planned observances throughout the year, including a celebration in Abilene on Eisenhower's birthday.