Former US president Dwight Eisenhower’s granddaughter, Mary Jean Eisenhower, yesterday praised former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), saying he helped create a decent way of life for all citizens, and that his legacy was being carried on by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
During her address at the opening ceremony of a photography exhibit showcasing the interaction between presidents of the Republic of China and US presidents in Taipei, Mary Jean Eisenhower said that the biggest reflection of Chiang’s legacy “can been seen in the courage and happiness of the people.”
“And that legacy has been carried on, fortunately, by the current president, Ma,” she said.
In the midst of anguish and conflict, Chiang held strong to his values and the rights of his people as well as those around the globe, she said.
“[Chiang] instilled these traits and gave the people a life worth preserving and hanging on to,” she added.
Mary Jean Eisenhower, the president of People-to-People International, an institution established by her grandfather to promote personal diplomacy and build peace through understanding, was invited to attend the exhibition.
The exhibition organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, held at the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, consists of 180 photographs dating from 1949 that were provided by various Taiwanese institutions and US presidential libraries.
“In this hall, we see a man whose passionate focus was to make China a better place for his people and those around him. He was willing to take whatever means necessary to see that the Chinese people had freedoms, resources, quality of life and the preservation of a rich cultural heritage matched by no other,” she said.
She said she has been inspired by the development of Taiwan during each of her eight visits to the country.
She said that the “prayer” in her grandfather’s farewell address, given when he ended his public life, on Jan. 17, 1961, that “peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied ... that all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love,” have come true in Taiwan.