Services in Washington, Kansas will continue to honor Dole – KXAN Austin



WASHINGTON (AP) – Bob Dole was to be honored with a private service at Washington National Cathedral and a public service at the World War II Memorial the day after he was assassinated in the U.S. Capitol, where President Joe Biden and top executives from both parties greeted one “Giants in our history”.

Biden, a friend of Dole from the decades both men served in the Senate, also planned to speak with family and close friends of the late Kansas Senator at the invitation-only ceremony at the cathedral.

Dole’s coffin was then to travel to the World War II Memorial on the National Mall for a public “Celebration of Life” with General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, actor Tom Hanks, and the US Army Band. Dole’s wife, former North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole, will also lay a wreath in his honor.

Dole, who died Sunday at the age of 98, served nearly 36 years in Congress, more than a decade as GOP Senate leader, and was his party’s presidential candidate when he lost to Bill Clinton in the 1996 election. In February he announced he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

Along with his sharp, often sarcastic tongue, Dole’s best-known traits included his pragmatic politics and self-deprecating wit – he represented the sense of common courtesy and compromise of a bygone era.

“As divided as we are, the only way for democracy is unity – consensus – the only way,” said Biden on Thursday. “We can follow his wisdom and timeless truth and reach consensus on the fundamental principles we all agree on.”

Dole’s coffin with the American flag was under the dome of the Capitol. Biden said Dole “belongs here, in this place, in this temple of freedom and this temple of possibility.”

“He too was a giant in our history,” said the President.

Dole’s body will later travel to Kansas, where weekend events include a public tour of St. Mary Queen of Angels Catholic Church in his hometown of Russell. He is later buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

“No question about it, Bob Dole made this world a much better place because of his legacy of leadership and service,” said Mike Ford, chairman of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation and eldest son of the late President Ford, in a statement. “As we read the obituaries and see the reactions to his death, my family is struck by the sincere affection that is expressed across the political spectrum. We will miss his warmth, his wit and his wisdom very much. “

Ford selected Dole as his running mate while trying unsuccessfully to retain the presidency in the 1976 election.

Black curtains hung on the doors under the dome while Dole lay in the state with the lectern positioned so that the statue of another Kansas statesman, Dwight Eisenhower, could be seen in the background. Senator Mitch McConnell, now the senior Republican Senate leader, said Dole idolized Eisenhower and called the former president and general a hero who embodied “the best qualities of the American people.”

“We can safely say that Eisenhower is not the only Kansan who meets these standards,” McConnell said in a speech earlier this week.

McConnell had raised concerns that a memorial event planner, Tim Unes, had been summoned by the House Committee, which was investigating the January 6 deadly attack by a mob on the Capitol for his role in planning that day for former President Donald Trump, according to a person granted anonymity to discuss the private conversation. Trump had urged his supporters to go to the Capitol to fight against the confirmation of Biden’s election victory.

Dole family spokesman Steve Schwab said in a statement that Unes, a former Dole campaign employee, “volunteered his time to serve on the advance team for this week’s memorial services.” Schwab said Elizabeth Dole was “previously unaware” that Unes was involved in the January attack and when he brought it to their attention, she “stopped volunteering.”

Born the Dust Bowl child, Bob Dole suffered crippling and near-fatal wounds after being shot in World War II who sent him home with a badly damaged right arm that he couldn’t use to shake hands. Instead, Dole held a pen in it and reached out his left hand to reassure the greeters.

He served as the Kansas state legislature before running for Congress in 1960, serving in the House of Representatives for eight years, and then winning the Senate seat. The 1996 race was Dole’s third and final campaign at the White House.

Dole’s sense of humor was evident after losing to Clinton. McConnell recalled that when it was time for Dole’s remarks, he stood at the podium and began, “I, Robert J. Dole … solemnly swear … oh, sorry, false speech!”

But this humor was seldom seen in the election campaign, where it could have helped him win more votes. Instead, Dole was seen as the GOP’s “hatchet man,” a mentee to Richard Nixon and chairman of the Republican National Committee during the Watergate era.

Still, during his long Senate career, Dole saw the importance of meeting the Democrats and secured his more enduring achievements – most notably the Americans with Disabilities Act, which to this day ensures a level of accessibility as a civil right.