On December 5, 2021, America lost one of our nation’s most accomplished and devoted leaders, a fantastic leader with an outstanding legacy: Senator Bob Dole. When I learned of his passing, I immediately wanted to write a tribute and post it on my blog to honor his legacy. But months after his passing, I still find facing our loss difficult, and through tears, I fight to find words that express my gratitude for his selfless service.

Many iconic moments, memories, and memorials stand in his name and honor. Senator Dole, a World War II veteran seriously wounded on the battlefield and twice decorated with the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, was the Republican nominee for president in 1996 and the longest-serving Republican Leader in the U.S. Senate. Senator Bob Dole also led the creation of the World War II Monument in D.C.

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During his treatment in Walter Reed Hospital for his grave war injuries, his wife, Senator Elizabeth Dole, stayed by his side as his most passionate spouse and caregiver. During his treatment, she had the chance to meet many other caregivers tending to their loved ones injured during the war, and their devotion and constant vigilance inspired her to establish the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. The Foundation has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about America’s hidden heroes, the military caregivers who care for those injured, ill, or wounded due to military service.

While serving as a Caregiver Dole Fellow in 2015-2017 for the Foundation, I had the pleasure and honor to meet Senator Bob Dole and spend time with him and Senator Elizabeth Dole in their home. He showed intense interest in my husband’s well-being and asked questions about his tour of duty in Afghanistan and Desert Storm and his time since returning home. During our conversation, Senator Bob Dole demonstrated great humility and kindness and expressed much sincerity in his concern for my husband and me. I will forever remember our brief time together and appreciate the Senator’s warmth, respect, and lifelong service to the country.

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(Pictured above is a picture of us in his home (from far right): Senator Elizabeth Dole, Senator Bob Dole, myself)

I know personally that America lost a gentle, kind, and strong leader. A museum in Kansas is named after his honor. His legacy continues. You can find out more about this establishment by visiting Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics.

 

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