Friday, May 24, 2013

Dedication of the Eisenhower Medical Center (1971)

Dedication of the Eisenhower Medical Center
The Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage CA
Type of Activity
 Hospital Dedication       
Location
Location
 Eisenhower Medical Center Rancho Mirage, CA
Date of Activity
 November 27 1971
Coordinates
: 33°45′48″N 116°24′20″W

The San Clemente CCT made many trips to Palm Springs in support of the President and Vice President. Most of the visits were only golf outings but, on November 27 1971 President and Mrs. Nixon attended the dedication of the Eisenhower Memorial Hospital and Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Desert CA.; also in attendance were Mrs. Eisenhower, Vice President and Mrs. Agnew and Governor and Mrs. Reagan all of which had protection details that need access to our communications either directly or indirectly.

We had to install the CP and the WHCA Commcenter in a nearby hotel for the USSS and WH staff the switchboard was installed in the GTE central office in Palm Springs. 

There was a radio site on Edom Hill which overlooked Palm Springs Airport, The Medical Center and the Annenberg estate where the President always stayed. WHCA had installed Baker and Charlie base stations that we turned up when a trip was eminent. We also installed FM radios at the USSS CP, close to the speech site.

Bob Hope at the ground Breaking Ceremony 
Bob Hope donated the land for the Eisenhower Medical Center
We had to install the CP and the WHCA Commcenter in a nearby hotel for the USSS and WH staff. The switchboard was installed in the GTE central office in Palm Springs. There was a radio site on Edom Hill which overlooked Palm Springs Airport, The Medical Center and the Annenberg estate where the President always stayed. WHCA had installed Baker and Charlie base stations that we turned up when a trip was eminent. We also installed FM radios at the USSS CP, close to the speech site.

The President and the First Lady flew by helicopter from the San Clemente Compound helipad, to the Annenberg Estate, Palm Springs, California. The President and the First Lady motored from the Annenberg Estate to the Eisenhower Medical Center, Palm Desert, California.

Upon their arrival the President and the First Lady were greeted by Mrs. Bob Hope, wife of the comedian and President of the Board of Trustees of the Eisenhower Medical Center. The President and the First Lady, then accompanied by Mrs. Hope, went to the speaker's platform.  Other guests seated on the platform were: Mrs. Mamie Eisenhower, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, Mrs. Spiro T. Agnew, Governor Ronald W. Reagan (R-California), Mrs. Ronald W. Reagan, Bob Hope, Comedian and Donator of the land for the Medical Center, Paul Jenkins, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Eisenhower Medical Center and A. Pollard Simons, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Eisenhower Medical Center.

President Nixon speaks at the dedication of the Eisenhower Medical Center
Remarks at the Dedication of the Eisenhower Memorial Hospital, Eisenhower Medical Center, Palm Desert, California.
November 27, 1971

Mrs. Eisenhower, Vice President and Mrs. Agnew, Governor and Mrs. Reagan, President and Mr. Hope [laughter],1 all of the very distinguished guests who are here on the platform and who are here in the audience:

When one studies, the history of civilizations, he finds that one of the most difficult problems every society has is to find an appropriate way to honor their great men. Sometimes a statue is built. Sometimes a building is named, a street, many appropriate ways have been found.

1 Mrs. Bob Hope was president of the board of trustees of the Eisenhower Medical Center.

In the case of President Eisenhower, so many ways would have been appropriate. Here was a man who in the whole history of war led the greatest armies to the greatest victory and so he could have been a man on horseback a military statue that could have been his memorial.

But, as the Vice President has so eloquently said, this is the most appropriate way to honor this man. It is what he would have wanted.

I recall, as Mrs. Eisenhower will, those last days in Walter Reed. And while physically he became weaker and weaker, mentally and spiritually he was stronger and stronger. I remember right to the last, where he wanted to go more than anyplace else in the world was back to Palm Springs. Oh, he loved Burning Tree and he loved Augusta and all the other places where he played golf, but his heart was here, here because of this place, the people that he knew.

And so from a personal standpoint, the man honored by this building, this institution, would have wanted it right here in this place, the place he loved so much.

But then, as we look at it in other terms, we find that President Eisenhower was a unique history figure, unique in the sense that he was a great leader in war--considering the size of wars, the greatest in history because of the armies that he led to victory--but also he had the opportunity, and met that challenge so well, to lead in peace. As President of the United States, he ended a war and kept America out of war for 8 years, and that is a great legacy for a man.

So this magnificent building behind us, the first of a number that eventually, probably, will be built here, memorializes this man who was a victor in war, but this man whose greatest contribution was to peace. And so this institution will be here to preserve life, not to destroy it, and that is what he would have liked and that is the way that we, very appropriately, honor him on this occasion and in the years ahead.

As we dedicate this building, I would finally suggest that we dedicate ourselves to the great challenges that lie ahead. We enter what we hope may be a period in which the United States can be at peace, not just for a few years, but perhaps for a generation; perhaps longer.

Building a generation of peace or a century of peace is, of course, a great task. But how we use that peace, what we do with it, is equally a very great challenge. We must see that America is physically healthy. This building and the men and women who will work in it will contribute to that goal.

We must see that America is economically healthy, and that means building a kind of prosperity that depends on peace and not on war; the kind of prosperity that we last had in 1955 and '56, when President Eisenhower was President.

And finally, building a people and a nation that is morally and spiritually healthy. The Eisenhower legacy speaks to that great challenge as it does to the others.

And so on this occasion, we as Americans, thinking of one of our great men, thinking of this institution that honors him, dedicate ourselves to the tasks ahead: of building a strong, healthy, vigorous America; meeting the challenge of building a world of peace for us, and for all people in the world.
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Note: The President spoke at 11:44 a.m. at the hospital building.
Land for the Medical Center was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Hope, and funds for the nonprofit hospital were given by trustees and friends of the hospital. The hospital was the initial stage of a medical complex that will include research and teaching facilities.
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On November 26, 1971, the White House released a fact sheet on the hospital.
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Citation: Richard Nixon: "Remarks at the Dedication of the Eisenhower Memorial Hospital, Eisenhower Medical Center, Palm Desert, California." November 27, 1971. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=3237.
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A private tour of the facility followed the dedication
There was also a small reception held following the dedication
When the Ceremony was over The President and the First Lady toured the Eisenhower Memorial Hospital with: Mrs. Mamie Eisenhower, Vice President and Mrs. Agnew, Governor and Mrs. Reagan Mr. and Mrs. Hope, and James M. Taylor, Executive Director of the Eisenhower Medical Center The President and the First Lady greeted a group of approximately ten medical and health publication editors and publishers.

The President and the First Lady accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Hope then departed the Eisenhower Medical Center and motored from the E1 Dorado Country Club, Palm Springs, California. I was driving the WHCA Press car and was included in the official motorcade, the President greeted persons along the motorcade route during a brief and unscheduled stop.  The motorcade then preceded to the dining room in the E1 Dorado Country Club, where he greeted, The Vice President, Governor Reagan, Frank Sinatra, and Mr. Hope among some other guests. The President had lunch and then the Presidential party n proceeded to the golf course to play 13 holes of golf.

     The President and Bob Hope enjoy a round of golf 
The Nixon’s return to San Clemente
I was monitoring radio traffic all afternoon and finally at about 4:30 pm the President and the First Lady left the El Dorado Country Club to the helipad at the Annenberg Estate.  The President and First Lady flew by helicopter from the Annenberg Estate, Palm Springs, California, to the helipad at the San Clemente Compound.

It was time to retrieve all of our equipment and return to our facility at El Toro MCAS.

   Program from the Dedication