MJ Eisenhower and Air Force One

April 9, 2022

Mary Jean Eisenhower is the granddaughter of Ike Eisenhower and was an early public supporter of the efforts to restore First Air Force One. She was born in Washington, D.C., during her grandfather’s first term and was christened in the Blue Room of the White House. Her life’s work has focused on bringing people from around the globe into contact with one another in order to expose them to diverse cultures.

“My grandfather recognized that the surest way to break cycles of fear and misunderstanding was for people to understand one another. He knew that for this to be effective, it must come not through governments, but through the hearts of people yearning for dignity, freedom and peace. Peaceful relations between nations require understanding and mutual respect between individuals. The vision of his Air Force One restored and available for the public to come together, remember our great nation’s heritage and rally around a common goal is the reason it has my enthusiastic support.”

Often described as an “American Humanitarian”, Mary Jean has traveled to more than 75 countries, visiting demining teams and Peace Camps while supporting veteran, student and cultural programs. She has traveled to the beaches of Normandy to meet many of the veterans who served with her grandfather on the D-Day invasion.

Mary also launched “Peace Camp 2003: An Evolution of Thought & Action” and “The Global Peace Initiative”. These efforts brought people from more than 30 nationalities together to Egypt, Jordan and Turkey to discuss issues and reach a better understanding of their individual cultures.

Mary Jean has been heavily influenced by her grandfather’s example and teachings. When Mary Jean was in her 30s, she learned about a note that had been found in his trashcan the month after the invasion of Normandy that he had written to take responsibility in case D-Day failed, saying, “If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.” (He apparently carried similar notes during every major invasion he ordered.) “It turned my heart as soon as I saw it,” Mary Jean says.

The quote by Dwight D. Eisenhower that has influenced her most is taken from the last paragraph of his Farewell Address to the nation given on January 17, 1961:

“We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand also its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.”

— Dwight David Eisenhower

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