Not long ago, in a German class, we learned the German word for iron, Eisen.

Railroad, for example, in German is Eisenbahn.  Eisenbahn, a combination of Eisen (iron) and Bahn (road, or way) is the iron road.

I thought of the name of one of our former presidents, President, Dwight D Eisenhower. During class, I wondered aloud what his name meant.

Not long after, one of the students sent this:

Translated roughly from the German, Eisenhower means “iron hewer,” someone who shaped metal into armor, weapons, or other useful tools. The Eisenhower family came to America in 1741, settling in Pennsylvania, where Dwight’s great great, great grandfather began farming.

Ironically, it was President Eisenhower, a man descended from weapon makers and a man bearing their name who warned us all about the growth of the military industrial complex.  We didn’t listen.

Also, ironically, ironic is not the adjective we used to describe things made of iron.


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