Oscar Award-winning actor Tom Hanks has joined the effort to complete the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial, the memorial commission announced.
Hanks, who starred in “Saving Private Ryan” and has produced and written numerous other World War II films, is the newest member of the memorial’s advisory committee, a group that includes former senator Robert J. Dole, former Republican National Committee chairman Frank Fahrenkopf and television journalist Tom Brokaw.
“We are delighted to welcome Tom Hanks,” former senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), the commission’s chairman, said in a statement. “A committed proponent of The Greatest Generation, Mr. Hanks served as the National Spokesman for the National World War II fundraising campaign. We look forward to his dynamic contributions to the effort to honor Ike.”
Hanks said he was honored to join Dole and others who were involved in the World War II memorial. “My role in that effort was meant to honor the sacrifices of Ike’s troops and all those who served in that global conflict,” he said in a statement released by the commission.
Advisory committee members are consulted on fundraising and other activities, according to the commission. They work individually and as a group through conference calls.
Fifteen years after Congress approved the building of a memorial to the World War II general and 34th president, the commission has yet to break ground. The project, with a controversial design by architect Frank Gehry and a spot in a four-acre urban park along Independence Avenue, has been criticized by members of Congress and members of the Eisenhower family.
Although the memorial’s design has received final approval from two government agencies, Congress hasn’t allocated construction funding since it awarded $32 million in 2012. Dole recently signed on to lead the fundraising effort. According to federal law, memorials must have all construction money on hand before work can begin.