Bob Dole Honored at National Cathedral, World War II Memorial

by Josh Lanier

President Joe Biden called former Sen. Bob Dole a “genuine hero” and giant of a bygone era in Washington, D.C. Hollywood icons, presidents, and luminaries packed the National Cathedral and World War II Memorial Friday to pay their respects to the legendary legislator who died on Sunday. He was 98.

Bob Dole spent a lifetime in service to his country. First in the frontlines of World War II and later as a congressman then a senator from Kansas. Biden joined the Senate four years after Dole, and for 25 years they worked across the aisle from one another.

“We disagreed, but we were never disagreeable with one another,” Biden said. “I found Bob to be a man of principle, pragmatism, and enormous integrity. He came into the arena with certain guiding principles to begin with: devotion to country, to fair play, to decency, to dignity, to honor, to literally attempting to find the common good.”

Hundreds of Democrats and Republicans attended the memorials. That’s particularly noteworthy considering how divided the nation’s capital is today. In attendance were Republican vice-presidents Mike Pence, Dick Cheney, and Dan Quayle along with Democrat Bill Clinton, who beat Dole in the 1996 presidential election.

Biden said that is a testament to Dole’s dedication to doing what he believed was right, even if it wasn’t politically advantageous. The president pointed out some of the times that Dole worked across the aisle, including the creation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“God, what courage Bob Dole had,” Biden remarked.

Tom Hanks Discusses the Lessons He Learned from Bob Dole

Bob Dole joined the U.S. Army shortly after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. He was a star athlete at the University of Kansas before the war, and his skills on the football field translated well to the military, the BBC noted.

Dole served as a lieutenant in the 10th Mountain Division. He nearly died during an attack on a German fortified position in northern Italy in 1945. The Germans killed or wounded two-thirds of his men during the attack. Dole was grievously wounded after he ran into enemy fire to carry a fellow soldier to safety. Dole barely survived, but his wounds left his right arm paralyzed.

Bob Dole pushed for veterans’ causes for the rest of his life, including the creation of the World War II Memorial. Tom Hanks worked with the former Senator on several of those causes.

The Hollywood icon passed on some of the wisdom he learned from Dole during those campaigns.

“There are many great lessons to take away from Bob Dole’s life,” Hanks said. “Go to the other guy’s office so you could decide when the meeting is over, and get up and walk out. Speak straight, even when it gets you in trouble, because it will. But at least everyone will know how you stand and what you stand for. And always plan not just to win, but win big. Yes, you may try and fail, but you will not fail to try.”