The late Senator Dole was honored in a series of bipartisan Washington events, five days after his death on the 120th anniversary day of the first Nobel Peace Prize award. What a splendid coincidence of history!
During a day of honors on Dec.10, the distinguished 98-year-old Republican Senator from Kansas received an eloquent, heartfelt tribute by Democratic President Joe Biden. It was a highlight in memorial tributes throughout the day in the nation’s capital.
As the President put it at the National Cathedral, quoted by Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez: “There’s something that connects the past and the present, then and now, in wartime and peace, in Mr. Dole’s career as a public servant.
In President Biden’s words: “The courage, the grit, the goodness and the grace of a Second Lieutenant named Bob Dole, who became Congressman Dole, Senator Dole — statesman, husband, father, friend, colleague and genuine national hero.”
Other Dec. 10 tributes to the celebrated son of Kansas
Among World War II heroes, Bob Dole stood out. He was nearly fatally wounded during a battle on an Italian mountain and spent his life suffering from his right hand crippled from that near-fatal wound at the height of the fighting in Europe. After the war, he spent 39 months recovering from that injury before entering United States politics.
As President Biden said during his December 10 formal tribute at Senator Dole’s memorial service, Republican Bob Dole worked over many years with Democrats to ensure passage of two major bills, the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act and the establishment of the Martin Luther King Junior federal holiday.
The President added: “As Bob Dole himself wrote at the end of his life, and I quote him: ‘I cannot pretend that I have not been a loyal champion of my party, but I’ve always served my country best when I did so first and foremost, as an American’.”
An American with a great sense of ironic humor
Reuters News Agency reported Dec. 5 that Senator Dole was “renowned for a sense of humor that could be self-deprecating, good-natured, or quite barbed”.
—The evening of his loss to Bill Clinton in the 1996 United States Presidential election, Mr. Dole remarked: “Tomorrow is the first day of my life when I have nothing to do.”
That wasn’t the case, as history would prove. During his four terms successively in the House and Senate over more than 40 years, Mr. Dole kept active.
Recently, he continued to lead efforts to help the disabled, and ensure protections against discrimination in employment, education and public services.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) summed it up best: “Senator Dole was an extraordinary patriot, who devoted his entire life to serving our nation with dignity and integrity.”
As a 36-year veteran of the Voice of America (VOA), Alan Heil traveled to more than 40 countries a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, and later as director of News and Current Affairs, deputy director of programs, and deputy director of the nation’s largest publicly-funded overseas multimedia network. Today, VOA reaches more than 275 million people around the world each week via radio, television and online media. Read More