tv Tribute Ceremony for Bob Dole at U.S. Capitol CSPAN December 9, 2021 11:21am-11:54am EST
holy and eternal god, to this grand hall and from across the country, we come to this moment with deep gratitude for the life and legacy of senator robert joseph dole. we are grateful that in his selfless devotion to you and to these united states, he has revealed to us what moral and faithful service should be. as we honor his 79 years of standing up for what's right, we stand before you to offer our heart-felt prayers. we ask of the influence senator dole has had on countless people, leaders, neighbors, and strangers alike would not be without long lasting fruit. and extolling senator dole's unequal integrity, disarming humor, and deep compassion, may
we be inspired to reach into the depths of our own smalltown virtues or our big city bravado to emulate this plain-spoken statesman, this decorated war hero, this your humble servant. we commend this tribute to you that you would enable us to find just the right words to honor this righteous man, that you would encourage us to imitate this inspiring servant, that you would equip us to carry forth with the faith of this faithful leader. we pray this in the strength of your name. amen. >> ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. ladies and gentlemen, the honorable mitch mcconnell republican leader of the united states senate.
senator mcconnell: on april 14 1969, senator bob dole delivered his first floor speech. he said, quote, the task ahead is monumental. and this was before bob knew he'd end up leading a conference of 53 senators. years later, after he had become leader, bob described his senate management challenges with his trademark wit. if i'd known he said we were going to win control of the senate, we'd run better
candidates. [laughter] i swear, bob could have made it as a stand-up comic. but in that speech, bob was earnest. he was already championing a signature cause, helping americans with disabilities. the task ahead is monumental, he said. but i'm confident there are forces in america ready and willing to meet the challenge. bob dole himself was certainly proof of that. that made yerch speech came 24 years to the date that he sustained his combat wounds in italy. bob had already risen to a monumental task. he'd taken the fight to the nazis, and he nearly paid for it with his life.
through all his decades in public service, bob dole knew exactly where he came from. a son of dust bowl hardship who was laser focused on food security and rural issues. a wounded warrior who spent decades carrying fellow veterans and americans with disabilities on his shoulders. bob was the last of the greatest generation to run for president. but he was never stuck in the past. his roots ran deep but he was always looking to new horizons. from that first speech through his years in leadership, through bob's incredibly active retirement in name only, he
built brighter futures for millions. bob was blessed with long life to watch this legacy take effect. that was no accident. bob liked to joke that he planned for longevity but -- by closely studying our most senior colleagues. he had a whole comedy routine about how he would try to copy strom thurmond's eating habit. if he eats a shrimp, i eat a shrimp. if he eats a banana, i eat a banana. but the real engine behind bob's remarkable 98 years was his love, his love for liz liz and for robin, for public service, for kansas, and for america. today, we honor the amazing life that love created.
and we thank god, the source of all love, both for bob's incredible journey here in this life and for the fact that he has entered his eternal reward in the next. >> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable charles e. schumer majority leader of the united states senate. senator schumer: mr. president madam vice president, madam speaker, leader mcconnell leader mccarthy, distinguished guests, more importantly senator elizabeth dole and robin. the scriptures says we should quote, rejoice in our
sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character and character produces hope. today, we pay tribute to a remarkable leader. over the course of his life knew more than his fair share of suffering, who turned that suffering into endurance, whose endurance became central to his character and whose character whose essential goodness leaves us with hope. hope that we will continue to see good men and women in this country like the one to whom we say goodbye today. to pay tribute to senator bob dole is to honor someone who redefined and elevated what it means to serve country. by 21, bob had given more of himself than most of us give in
a lifetime, and then he kept going for 77 years after that. and my god, it was 77 years well spent. at 27, he was elected to state politics. a decade later, he came to congress, followed promptly with an election to the senate. 16 years later, bob dole was majority leader, remaining in party leadership until his final run for president in 1966. 1996. the years were well spent however. not because of his titles, but because of what he accomplished. today, tens of millions of americans, veterans, the elderly, the disabled, and millions of kids across the country are better off because of bob dole. he never lost his roots as a principled, pragmatic kansan and bob never hesitated to work with democrats to get things done. from joining senator mcgovern on federal nutrition programs to
working with my former colleague, senator moynihan, to protect social security, to helping pass the americans with disability act with senators kennedy and harkin. bob dole was a champion of those whose lives were marred by struggle. who came from not from citadels of privilege but from humble origins like his own. in his memoir, senator dole wrote that supporters were sometimes surprise to hear that of all his accomplishments in the senate, reforming social security was his greatest pride along with passing the a.d.a. i'm sure that surprises a few of us here today, but i doubt those who knew the bob dole of russell, kansas, the man whose family lived for years in their own basement so they could rent out their house, who as county toirn had to approve his grandfather's welfare checks each month, whose recovery from
war was made possible only after his hometown pooled money to pay for surgery. i imagine that those who knew this side of bob dole understood that no matter how high he climbed up the ranks, he never forgot the reason he enter public service. and of course, he did it all with unmistakable acerbic wit, honed and refined over the years as he worked as a soda jerk in the local drugstore. bob and i never worked together in the senate, but i was not spared his famous ribbing. it's safe to be between me and the cameras today. in closing, i want to bring back an enduring image of bob that took place nine years ago. as we said goodbye to another colleague lying in this same rotunda. none of us will ever forget the strength and honor of bob with elizabeth at his side, standing and saluting danny inouye one last time. bob used to tell the story of him and danny recovering from war wounds at percy jones army
hospital in battle creek michigan. as they recuperated, they discussed their futures. with bob telling danny he planned to run for local office and eventually the united states senate. at the time danny had a different path in mind for himself, but like bob's plan ran for office and eventually was actually elected to the senate before bob. after danny was sworn in, one of the first things he did was call his old friend and said, bob i'm here in the senate. where are you? now, as bob approaches the pearly gates, let us take comfort he can reunite with his old friend once again. in the meantime, let the rest of us carry on in thanksgiving and unending celebration of the life of this incredible american statesman.
>> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable nancy pelosi, speaker of the united states house of representatives. speaker pelosi: good morning. mr. president, it is a sad and official honor to join our colleagues and the leadership in welcoming you and first lady and the vice president to the united states capitol. you come as senator dole's long time colleague, personal friend and as president. and we -- as we recognize the life and service of the honorable robert j. dole. thanks to the leaders and members of our congressional community here with us this morning, we all come to pay
tribute and on their behalf i extend a special welcome to senator dole's loving and dedicated wife and partner in service, elizabeth -- senator elizabeth dole, and his dear daughter, robin. it's sad for all of us. as speaker of the house, it's a special source of pride for us in the house that senator dole began his congressional career in the house of representatives. and it is fitting that as we gather in the capitol rotunda home to american heroes memorialized in marble and bronze, to pay tribute to an extraordinary patriot. once before we gathered here in the rotunda, in his name, in 2018, it was my personal and official honor to join our colleagues and the leadership to help bestow upon him the congressional gold medal. the highest honor congress can bestow.
on that day, as we do on this sad day, we recognized senator dole among the pantheon of patriots, honoring his duty -- duty to our nation with courage dignity, and integrity. as i stand here and see his coffin on the catapult that was built for lincoln with that flag draped over it, it's hard to think of anyone who was more worthy to have the flag draped over his coffin because of his great patriotism to our country. on both sides of the aisle, on both sides of the capitol across the country, senator dole was widely respected for his legendary service on the battlefields of world war ii. his inspiring resilience after recovering from grievous war wounds, his principled leadership in the hallowed halls of congress, house, and senate
and his tireless advocacy as an elder statesman. over the course of his storied career, he earned a reputation as a fighter for hardworking american families, a leader who could be trusted as a man of his word. working in a bipartisan way senator dole addressed hunger in america by expanding food stamps, fought for respect for people with disabilities by enshrining essential protections into the law with the a.d.a. again, in a bipartisan way. he taught us over time and all the time to respect people for what they can do and not judge them for what they cannot. he advocated for our troops veterans, and hidden heroes who cared for them alongside his beloved wife, elizabeth. indeed, the love, partnership
and prayerfulness that senators bob and elizabeth dole shared was a joy to behold and a blessing to all of us who know them. in recognition of his legendary career, senator dole received the 1997 medal -- presidential medal of freedom, bestowed upon him by president clinton, his electoral rival, but certainly his fan. upon receiving this medal senator dole challenged us in his words, not to question american ideals or replace them but to act worthy of them. senator dole lived up to this challenge devoting his entire life and service to the country he loved and to our cherished national values for which he fought. i remember when we were gathered here honoring president george herbert walker bush and how moved the whole nation was to see senator dole salute president bush.
so generous he was. so as we honor his life this morning, let us resolve to meet his challenge, he said, to act worthy of our ideals and carry on his mission. when we in congress gave senator dole the congressional gold medal, he brought luster to the award. just as his service and sacrifice brought luster to the congress and to the country. may it be a comfort to you robin, to elizabeth, and all who love him that so many people across the congress, the country, and his beloved state of kansas, that a grateful nation mourns with them and are praying for you at this sad time. may senator dole rest in the peace that he deserves. thank you.
>> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable joseph r. biden jr. president of the united states. president biden: vice president harris, speaker pelosi, majority leader schumer, minority leader mcconnell, members of congress distinguished guests, and most importantly, elizabeth and robin. i know this is not easy. thank you for letting us do this. we meet here in the very heart of american democracy, the capitol of the united states of
america, to receive a hero of that democracy for a final time. robert joseph dole, he belongs here, in this place, in this temple of liberty -- to liberty and temple to possibilities. bob dole loved this capitol. it's where he served the nation shaped by the figures that surround us. washington and jefferson who set us on our path. abraham lincoln, another man who in the heartland of the country from which he came. bob's hero, dwight david eisenhower. martin luther king jr., who bob helped pass legislation honoring
the great civil rights leader with a federal holiday. bob stood up and got that done. gerald ford, who served here and with whom bob sought the vice president of the united states. bob belongs here. he, too, was a giant of our history. that's not hyperbole. it's real. of wit and grace, of principle and persistence, of courage and conviction. i had the great honor of serving with bob, as many you around this casket have, i served with him for 25 years. he did have great wit. they once asked him, why in god's name did he vote to continue to fund amtrak? he said, because if he didn't biden would stay overnight and cause more trouble. [laughter]
i commuted every day. true story. he was the deciding vote. well, you know, bob and i, like many of us here, we disagreed on a number of things, but not on the fundamental things. we still found a way to work together. we genuinely, we genuinely respected one another as colleagues and as fellow americans. it was real. it wasn't fake. and we became great friends because bob deserves a final word. i like to read a portion of his final message that he left to the country. i hope we all listen to in the days and weeks, months to come. i quote bob dole.
"i cannot pretend that i've not been a loyal champion of my party. i've always served my country best when i did it so first and foremost as an american. where we prioritize principles over party and humanity over personal legacy, and when we do that we accomplish far more as a nation. by leading with shared faith in each other, we become america at its best." he went on to say, "a beacon of hope, a source of comfort in crisis, a shield against those who threaten freedom." our nation has certainly faced periods of division. but at the end of the day, we've always found ways to come together.
we can find that unity again. and the message said, end of message. my fellow americans, america has lost one of our greatest patriots. we may follow his wisdom, i hope, and the truth of the matter is divided as we are, the only way forward for democracy is unity, consensus. the only way. may we follow his wisdom and his timeless truth and reach consensus, the basic fundamental principles we all agree on. may god bless bob dole, may god bless america, and may god protect our troops.
>> several events honoring former senator bob dole over the next couple days. the former presidential candidate and war veteran will lie in state at the u.s. capitol rotunda from noon eastern today through 8:00 tonight. tomorrow, a memorial service will be held at washington national cathedral. you can watch live at 11a.m. eastern here on c-span. senator dole was a veteran of world war ii and shot in northern italy in 1945 just before the war ended. an event recognizing his service will be held at the world war ii memorial at 1:15 p.m. eastern. on saturday, a memorial will take place in russell, kansas, with a ceremony the kansas state capitol later in the day. respes and giving tributes. one of them is seto