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Dole eulogists highlight his role in building World War II, Eisenhower memorials

Daschle says late Senate leader once pondered being buried at WWII memorial on National Mall

Former Sens. John W. Warner, left, and Bob Dole watch World War II-era aircraft fly over the World War II Memorial on May 8, 2015, at a ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory in Europe, known as V-E Day.
Former Sens. John W. Warner, left, and Bob Dole watch World War II-era aircraft fly over the World War II Memorial on May 8, 2015, at a ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory in Europe, known as V-E Day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Bob Dole won’t actually be interred at the World War II Memorial in Washington, but as speakers at his funeral service Friday made clear, there is no more lasting physical legacy of the late Senate majority leader.

“Boy, did he stand up for his fellow veterans,” South Dakota Democrat Tom Daschle — himself a former Senate majority leader — said at Washington National Cathedral about the onetime chairman of the World War II Memorial campaign. “I know from many conversations how important that accomplishment was, he even remarked to me once he thought about being buried there. While that may not be his final resting place, I think of Bob every single time I visit.”

From the time the memorial opened in 2004, Dole was a fixture at ceremonies large and small, meeting with fellow World War II veterans who came from all over the country on honor flights.

So it was fitting that as part of the services honoring the late Senate Republican leader, the motorcade carrying his casket made a stop at that memorial on the way to Joint Base Andrews for Dole’s last visit to his native Kansas.

“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,” former Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said at the service, referring to Dole’s widow, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C. “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,” he said.

“There is no better display of the vision and promise of America than every weekend when the honor flights would roll up to the World War Two Memorial,” Roberts added. “Kansas veterans escorted by Kansas high school students would visit their memorial to reflect on their fight to preserve a free world. And there was Bob shaking every hand, posing for every picture, listening to all their stories.”

The World War II Memorial is, of course, not the only memorial in the nation’s capital for which Dole — the 1996 Republican presidential nominee and the 1976 GOP vice presidential nominee — played a role.

There was also the the memorial to another legendary Kansan: President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Roberts, who championed construction of that frequently contentious and often-delayed project, praised Dole’s role in getting it dedicated.

“Bob also stressed at the time that there should also be a memorial to Ike, so that veterans could salute and thank their commanding general,” Roberts said at the cathedral. “That effort took 24 years and, again with Bob’s help, we dedicated the Eisenhower Memorial last year.”

Roberts and Daschle were among the speakers Friday, along with eulogist in chief Joe Biden, who returned to the National Cathedral to bid farewell to another American hero.

“Bob was man who always did his duty, who lived by a code of honor,” the president said. “Bob Dole was a man of his word. He loved his country, which he served his whole life.”

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