tv Memorial Service Tributes to Bob Dole at National Cathedral CSPAN December 11, 2021 12:58am-2:01am EST
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as a patriot. we were on our way to the 50th anniversary of d-day in normandy. we started in italy. much has been written about his time in italy. but to be there with him felt significantly different. he was on a mission in the mountains, nazi gunfire and morr fire was thick, men were dying, facing a hail of bullets, second lieutenant robert joseph dole hurled a grenade into an empty gun northwest. he was trying to help a fallen comrade, his platoon radioman,
when everything changed. and i mean everything changed. his spine was damaged because fire tore across the hills, shattering his body. grievously wounded, he was paralyzed. dragged behind a wall bob would pass in and out of consciousness, dreaming of home as he laid bleeding in a foxhole for nearly nine hours. he was 21 years old. decades on we gather here in a world far different from the mountains battlefield in 1945, but there is something, there is something that connects that past and present, wartime and peace, then and now. the courage, the grit, the
goodness, and the grace of second lieutenant named bob dole who became congressman dole, senator dole, statesman, husband, father, friend, colleague, and a ward often overused but not here, genuine hero. bob dole. dean and the clergy officiating today's service, president clinton, vice president harris, vice president pence, and cheney, and quail, speaker pelosi, leader schumer, leader mcconnell, members of congress of both parties past and present, members of the cabinet, general millie, leaders of our military, distinguished guests, most of all, the dole family,
elizabeth, it's been said that memory is the power to gather roses in winter. bob left you with 45 years' worth of roses. a love built and shared that's going to guide you through the difficult days ahead. jill and i will always be there for you, as many others in this church will be. as you and bob were always there for us in ways nobody knows. and, robin, you carry your father's pride, grace, and character. he'll always be with you. as the old saying goes, you are your father's daughter. you are your father's daughter. bob dole's story is a very american one. born and raised in the three room house through the dust bowl of the great depression.
shipped out as a young man to world war ii. wounded in battle on the same weekend that franklin delano roosevelt would be mourned by millions, bob came home. rebuilt his life, painful hour by painful day by painful week, by painful month, by painful year. in no way was wounded on a mountain not far where he was, daniel inouye was, they talked about for years. god what courage bowl had. he then went to school on the g.i. bill. came to washington with a new frontier.
bravely voted for civil rights and voting rights in years of the kennedys, lyndon johnson, and martin luther king jr. ran for president on the ticket with gerald ford. and through the ages of nixon, carter, reagan, bush the elder, and clinton, bob was literally the master of the senate. we served together for 25 years. we disagreed, but we were never disagreeable with one another. not one time that i can think of. i found bob to be a man of principle, pragmatism, and enormous integrity. he came into the arena with certain guiding principles. that began with devotion to country, to fair play, to decency, to dignity, to honor,
to literally attempting to find the common good. that's how he worked with george mcgovern to find hunger in america. particularly as it affected children and around the world. he worked with teddy kennedy and tom harkin to bring down the barriers for americans living with disabilities, a profound change and profound act of grace. he worked with daniel patrick moynihan to literally save social security because bob believed every american deserved to grow old with the basic dignity, basic dignity intact. and over the opposition of many in his own party, some in mine, he managed to build and create a
federal holiday in the name of martin luther king jr. bob dole, bob dole did that. he never forgot where he came from. and i never forgot what he said to our colleagues about the effort for the king holiday. i'll quote, he said, no first class democracy can treat people like second class citizens. no first class democracy can treat people like second class citizens. bob didn't hate government. knew the people need it the most were the people most in need. he wanted government to work, to work for folks like him who came up the hard way, just give
everybody a chance, joe. just a chance. during the depression bob's parents moved into the basement of their three room, not three bedroom, three room home in russell, kansas, so they could rent out, quote, the upstairs. bob understood hardship. he had known hardship. and he never forgot it. he never forgot the people as well who sent him to washington. people from russell and from kansas. bob was a man who always did his duty. who lived by a code of honor. almost seems strange to say that today, but he lived by a code of honor and he meant it. just as his colleagues, republican and democrat, looked at him, i think they saw him the same way i did, just ask any who
served with him at the time. bowl -- bob dole fit my dad's description, he said you must be a man of your word. without your word you are not a man. bob dole was a man of his word. he loved his country. which he served his whole life. the bible tells us to whom much is given, much is expected. and bob dole, for all his hardship, believed he had been given the greatest gift of all. he was an american. he was an american. and he felt it. let's be honest, bob dole was always honest. sometimes to a fault.
he once endured the wrath of his fellow republicans when there was a legitimate fight going on to defund amtrak. i have traveled over a million, 200,000 miles on amtrak because i commuted every single day. came time for literally the deciding vote, the deciding vote on whether we were going to defund amtrak. and he cast a vote against his party deciding to keep funding amtrak. and obviously my guess he was asked why. why would you do that? he said, the best way to get joe biden the tell hell out of here at night so he's not here. excuse my language. true story. absolutely true story. god, i love the guy. as i said he was always honest.
but bob relished a good political fight. as much as anybody i ever served with in the 36 years i was in the senate. bob gave as good or better than he got. he was a proud republican. he chaired his party. he led its caucus in the united states senate. and he bore the banner as its nominee for vice president and president of the united states. he could be partisan, that was fine. americans have been partisan since jefferson and hamilton squared off in george washington's cabinet. but like them, bob dole was a patriot. he was a patriot. and here's what his patriotism teaches us in my view. as bob dole himself wrote at the end of his life, and i quote
him, i cannot pretend i have not been a loyal champion of my party. but i have always served my country best when i did so first and foremost as an american. end of quote. first and foremost as an american. that was bob dole. that was your husband, your dad. always as an american. he understood that we are all part of something much bigger than ourselves. and he really did, i felt, he really understood it. and a compromise isn't a dirty word. it's the cornerstone of democracy. consensus is required in a democracy. to get anything done.
that's how you get things done. again, listen to bob dole's words, not mine. i'm quoting him again. i learned that to get anything done you compromise. not your principles, but your willingness to see the other side. those who suggest compromise is a sign of weakness misunderstand the fundamental strength of democracy. end of quote. in his final days bob made it clear that he was deeply concerned about the threat to american democracy. not from foreign nations, but from the division, tearing us apart from within, and this soldier reminded us, and i quote, too many of us have sacrificed too much in defending
freedom from foreign adversaries to allow our democracy to crumble under a state of infighting that grows more unacceptable day by day. grows more unacceptable day by day. he wrote this when he knew his days were numbered. in small numbers. my fellow americans, taps is now sounding for this soldier of america. forged in war, tested by adversity, taps is now sounding for this patriot driven by a sense of mission to give back to the land that gave everything to him for which he knewly -- nearly gave his all. taps is now sounding for this
giant of our time and of all time. we are bidding this great american farewell, but we know as long as we keep his spirit alive, as long as we see each other not as enemies but as neighbors and colleagues, as long as we remember that we are here not to tear down but to build up. as long as we remember that then "taps" will never sound for bob dole. for bob who will be with us always cracking a joke, moving a bill, finding common ground his final message to the nation, bob said that whenever he started a new journey, whenever he start
add new journey the first thing he would do, and i quote, is sit back and watch for a few days, then start standing up for what he thought was right, end of quote. bob was taking his final journey. he's sitting back now watching us. now it's our job to start standing up for what's right for america. i salute you, my friend. your nation salutes you. and i believe the words of poet ingersol when he described heroism, better fit you than anyone i know, and he wrote the following, when the will defies
sons, and they represent the vision and the promise of america. life in our state molded bob and ike, open prairies, wind, always the wind, wheat fields, agriculture, where man is at the mercy of chance and weather, but can still be confident in the dignity of his labor. bob's early life in russell, kansas, where the population hovered around 2,000, included the dust bowl and the great depression. bob characterized russell when addressing the russell high school graduating class of 1986, he said, there are two kinds of education in this world. there's one where you give
yourself. and another you get from others. you can get an education on the farm or in a factory or in a science lab and a church pew, most of all if you are from russell, you can get an education just by looking at life around you. when i was a boy i doubt we knew the names of our congressmen or senators, but we were blessed to have friends and neighbors who knew and cared for one another. when times were tough, people were tougher. when the winds howled and part of the prairie itself was blown away, i could barely see to deliver the newspapers on my paper route. but because i came from russell, because i came from kansas i was granted a special vision, one
which has seen me all the years since, one which you can rely on just the same. and he defined this kansas vision by saying, my friends, i hope that you will never stop looking at the stars. i hope you will never forget our state motto, to the stars, through difficulties. i hope you will never stop believing in things you cannot see. i hope that your future is as hospitable and beckoning as mine was when i stood on a similar platform more than 40 years ago. i hope that in the making of life for yourselves, you won't neglect serving your country, most of all i hope that wherever you go and whatever you do, russell will go with you. and for them i know you will be
well guided of the and well guided he was. in attaining his vision and embodying the promise of america. when we lost bob on sunday, there was a pause throughout the state of kansas as kansans from all walks of life stopped to reflect. bob dole was a person who meant something to everyone, in the coffee shop, campaign trail, halls of congress. whether we were in topeka, aabilene, wichita, or dodge city i saw bob dole connect with kansans always on a personal level. he would share with them this vision, this promise and would he help them to achieve it. just like the folks in russell did in supporting him.
now, as a young staffer and later a member of the house of representatives, following in senator dole's footsteps, i certainly understood bob dole's influential and power. on a thursday in 1983 he would be fighting to protect social security with president reagan, senator moynihan, others in the white house. then on saturday he would be listening to thelma in insurance springs, kansas, telling him social security meant to her daily life and pocketbook. when he returned to washington with that empathy of his and knowing kansas, and knowing thelma, it enabled him to win the victories that he did for the disabled, for veterans, for the hungry, or for any of the issues of the day that needed
negotiatation. steady compromise, and the vision of america's promise. bob never lost his common sense and famous wit. it was embedded in his nature to deliver that punch line, deadpan, knowing, waiting for the room to light up, which it always did, for the barriers to come down, letting the air out of the partisan balloons. dole's manner and influence were so strong that if i were for something, people thought bob was for something. and i never informed them or bob otherwise. while the work we did was serious, it was a different time. there were lighthearted times, too. i would call up his chief of staff and say, where's my
speech? and a scramble was off to get the leader's remarks. they eventually figured it out it was roberts again and i made sure my staff didn't take calls from dole's office for the rest of the week. when his official public service came to an end, bob could have faded away with his dear elizabeth, telling stories, remembering the good old days, but that was not his nature. there was still so much vision and promise, still so much he could do for his fellow veterans and for his nation. let everyone know without bob dole there would not be a world war ii memorial. bob always stressed at the time that there should also be a memorial to ike so that veterans could salute and thank their commanding general.
that effort took 24 years, and again with bob's help, we dedicated the eisenhower memorial last year. bob dole understood that it was just not recognition that this greatest generation deserved. it was reflection and renew -- renewal. and it was for the greatest generation to inspire the next generation. there is no better display of division and promise of america than every weekend when the honor flights would roll up to the world war ii memorial, kansas veterans, escorted by kansas high school students, would visit their memorial. to reflect on their fight to preserve our free world. there was bob shaking every hand, posing for every picture, listening to alt stories -- all
the stories, and the thanks, the thanks of a still grateful nation. when elizabeth told us he passed in his sleep, and we all knew that an era had come to an end, my first reaction was one of sadness and grief losing a dear friend and mentor. but then thinking about it, i think the good lord touched bob's hand and told him it was time to come home. to see his folks. that there were quite a few world war ii veterans and some from north korea and vietnam looking forward to thanking him, as well as folks who were disabled, quite a few dog and cat lovers, and quite a few folks from farm country still upset about something had a
whole hassle of folks from kansas and all over, a lot of them republicans who say they voted for him, and some democrats, who say, they should have. then he said, don't worry, bob. our heavenly gates are guarded by united states marines. so thank you, lord, for enabling us to live in such a time and space that gave the -- us the opportunity and privilege to know bob dole. a kansas star who truly shined through difficulty.
mr. president, madam vice president, distinguished guests, elizabeth, robin. i'm honored. i've always thought that life has no blessing like that of a good friend. and to know bob was to know the truth of that statement. bob's friendship was a blessing that enriched my life beyond measure. his dedication to public service, his determination to
keep washington and congress places of civility, and his kindness to linda and me made our friendship a blessing as rich as life offers. when i arrived in the senate in 1987, boss was literally -- bob was literally one of the very first people to reach out. we served on the finance and agriculture committees together and almost from the beginning we seemed to have similar views on agriculture, nutrition, many other issues. bob faced the world, both its
cruelties and its kindness, with humility, with humanity. and of course with humor. i remember my very first appearance with bob after we were first elected leaders in 1994. it was at a reception where he noted that my election was received with great even this aussie -- enthusiasm in farm country. because for first time you have two senate leaders from farm states. he said every farmer in america that very week ordered a new tractor. [laughter] and bob set the bar for me and i suspect many others.
when he shared that story about when he first came to congress, a reporter asked what his agenda was going to be. he said, i'm going to sit and watch for just a couple of days and then i'm going to stand up and do what's right. and that's exactly what he did. as the president noted, he stood up for minorities early in his career, when he broke party ranks and voted for the landmark civil rights and voting rights acts. he stood up for the elderly when he worked with pat moynihan literally to save social security.
he stood up for the young when he worked with george mcgovern on nutrition assistance. and he stood up for the disabled when he worked with ted kennedy and tom harkin on the americans with disabilities act. and, boy, did he stand up for his fellow veterans, as pat just noted. as the chairman of the world war ii memorial campaign, i know from many conversations how important that accomplishment was. he even remarked to me once, thought about being buried there. while that may not be his final resting place, i think of bob every single time i visit.
of course these are all the things that made bob dole great. but as bill rogers once put it in one of bob's favorite sayings, it's great to be great. but it's far greater to be human. almost everyone has heard the bob dole stories of amazing heroics as he roared from injure -- as he recovered from injury in world war ii. but few know the bob dole who called the florida dentist in 1993 to encourage him after losing his right arm and help him find a specialist to get a
prosthetic arm. and few people know the story about bob dole and the detour he took in his presidential campaign in 1996. he was in indianapolis and he left the campaign for a few hours to attend a graduation party for a young girl that had become paralyzed because of a car accident. or as pat already noted, the bob dole who waited at those airport gates for honor flights, to greet veterans with a salute and a thank you. he touched many people through his small acts of kindness, including me.
he taught me a lot when i became senate leader. when i lost my election in 2004, once again bob was one of the very first to offer me his guidance and his support. he helped me find a speaker's bureau. he encouraged me to join him at his law firm. it's a decision i never regretted. in part because it gave me the opportunity to spend a lot more time with him. i can't help but think of the first time i said farewell to
bob. when he left the senate in 1996. i remember he quoted a poem by carl sandberg in his final speech on the senate floor. i tell you yesterday is a wind gone down, a sun dropped in the west. i tell you there is nothing in the world, only an ocean of tomorrows, a sky of tomorrows. bob didn't always have an easy life. he faced some hard yesterdays.
physical, political, personal losses. but for all he did lose, he never lost himself. he never lost his sense of humor. he never lost his sense of integrity. he never lost his love for his hometown, russell, kansas. or his deep, deep love for elizabeth and robin. and he never lost his hope for tomorrow. his life was a testament to will rogers' truth, that the things that make us human, the laughs we share, the burdens we bear,
>> i stand here with a heavy heart and also as a grateful and proud daughter. i have had an incredible 67 years with my dad. not many people get that time and i'm so thankful. i'll be brief today. to help me make it through this. and to make dad smile. because a lot of us in this room know how much he appreciated brevity. [laughter] i want to start by thanking all of you for being with us today. i think i can speak for elizabeth when i say the outpouring of love and respect is so heartwarming. we are truly lifted by your
presence. and thank you, mr. president, for your warm remarks. i'll always treasure your recent visit to dad and elizabeth and i at the watergate. it was wonderful and i loved listening to you share all your stories about the time you served together. and i want to say thank you to his extended family and now mine. former colleagues, former staff, current staff, members of the household, liz agent bes staff, who i've -- elizabeth's staff, who i've gotten to know really well the last couple of days, the brunching crew -- brunching crew, all of his visitors and friends and family who called him regularly.
he so enjoyed his time with all of you. and i want to say thank you to his medical team and, believe me, it was quite a team. his team on the east coast and the west coast, for your deadcation and forgiving -- dedication and forgiving us so many wonderful years with dad. especially this last year. we can't thank you enough. finally, i want to thank his caregivers. i will be eternally grateful to you for providing extraordinary care and compassionate care to my dad. and for always answering my many calls and texts with grace. there were a lot, believe me. the last years have been such a gift to me.
i felt so fortunate i was able to spend hundreds of hours with my dad and talk to him almost every single night on the phone. we talked about everything under the sun. he told me things i never knew. he asked about my life, about my friends' lives. we made lots of calls to family, to former colleagues in the senate and in the house, to former staff. he shared feelings he had not shared before with many of these people. it was a wonderful experience for me to listen to these conversations. and such a gift to them and to dad. my dad is the most generous person i have ever known. he was a giver, not a taker. he cared more about others than
he did about himself. he told me he set a personal goal to help at least one person every day of his life. then he said, i'm not sure i've been able to meet my goal. i said, dad, you've got to be kidding. some days you help one person and other days you help 40,000 people. i think you've met and exceeded your goal. well, you may be right, he said. there's no one who helped -- there's no one he helped more than me. he's always been there for me through thick and through thin. he always had my back, even when i made mistakes and, believe me, i made quite a few. he believes in give second
chances -- in giving second chances and i know that firsthand. he was my rock. my dad was an animal lover and we share that love. you heard a lot about his work in animal welfare, but i'd like to share a few personal stories about his love for animals. when i was a little girl my cousins and i would visit his parents in russell every summer. grandma would often have animals for us to play with. one year when i got home i cried and cried because i didn't know what would happen to the little kitten that i played with and grew to love. dad left on a trip to kansas and much to my surprise he brought the kitten home with him on the plane for me. we named the kison rusty -- the kison just because he start --
the kitten rusty because he started in russell. recently i lost my dog, cooper. dad was the first one to call me. he consoled me and he said all the right things. that support meant the world to me. then he began to encourage me to get another dog. quite frequently he encouraged me to get another dog. and i tell him, i just don't know if i'm ready. he kept encouraging me and eventually he got me a puppy. [laughter] and i wanted to name my puppy after dad. but, you know, i didn't want to name him bob. [laughter] so i decided to name him jo-jo after his middle name, joseph. and we visited many, many times.
dad always wanted me to bring jo-jo with me. it wasn't always easy but we did it and dad always wanted me when i got there to hold jo-jo up. so he could get kisses from jo-jo. i'd hold him up to his face. and dad always wanted elizabeth to get kisses too. [laughter] and jo-jo did a very good job spreading his love. dad and elizabeth's dogs, blazer and leader, were always trotting into his room. they loved to visit. but it was blazer who was the most concerned about him. blazer would lay at his feet whenever he suspected dad needed special nursing care. and i believe it really helped him because he loved them so much.
when i was preparing to speak today, i learned about a farewell letter dad wrote with a former staff member. none of us knew he had written this letter. he swore him to secrecy and he kept the secret. the joke is, you may move on to other jobs, but once you're a dole staffer, you're always a dole staffer. and a lot of people in this room know that. i'd like to share in closing part of that letter and i encourage you all to read it in its entirety. it has been released to the public as he wished. here are his words. as i make the final walk on my life's journey, i do so without
fear because i know that i will again not be walking alone. i know that god will be walking with me. i also confess that i'm a bytyqi curious to learn that heaven will look a lot like kansas. [laughter] and to see like whoars have gone before me -- like others who have gone before me if i will still be able to vote in chicago. [laughter] i do have one request to make of you. since it was just dedicated in 2004, it has been my honor to go as often as i could to the world war ii memphis here in washington, d.c.
to welcome and thank the world war ii veterans and all veterans who are visiting there. since i won't be making that visit anymore, i hope that you will. and that you will ask your children and grandchildren to visit veterans memorials across america and to never forget the sacrifice made not just by my generation but by all those who wear the uniform of our country. my final words are the exact ones that dwight eisenhower used to conclude his speech in abilene nearly seven decades ago. i believe in the future of the united states of america. i will miss him so much. i think i will still talk to him every night. i love you, dad.
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