The sisters, who live locally, had seen media coverage of the memorial and wanted to experience it for themselves.

“I heard his granddaughters talk about it, the whole story about the kid,” said Pennington, referencing the statue of a young Eisenhower. “I’ve lived here for many, many years, so any new memorial and I’m out here.”

Towering above the limestone and bronze scenes stands a massive 450-foot-wide and 60-foot-tall stainless steel tapestry that, according to volunteers and guides, depicts the cliffs of Normandy, France, that American soldiers had to scale during the D-Day invasion.

The memorial is located just off the National Mall in front of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Visitors on Friday asked National Park Service rangers about what was featured in the tapestry, which is somewhat abstract in daylight, but becomes clearer when lit from below at night. A photograph of the cliffs is included in a brochure, making clear what the tapestry represents.

That design was the result of several revisions, driven in part by opposition from the Eisenhower family and lawmakers who have said they could not endorse the project without the family’s approval.