From Russell, Kansas, to World War II, Washington, D.C. and beyond, a life dedicated to helping others.
Thank you for the outpouring of love over the last year, it continues to sustain us as we grieve the loss of the precious man we knew as husband and father. Bob Dole was never only ours – we shared him with Americans from every walk of life and every political persuasion. He dedicated his life to serving you, and so it is heartwarming that so many honor him at his passing.
America has lost one of its heroes; our family has lost its rock. We will smile as we recall his gifted sense of humor. We will take comfort from the extraordinary moments of our lifetimes together.
Bob Dole never forgot where he came from. He embodied the integrity, humor, compassion and unbounded work ethic of the wide open plains of his youth. He was a powerful voice for pragmatic conservatism, and it was that unique Kansan combination of attributes and values that made him such a giant of the Senate.
Our grief is softened by our gratitude for having shared in so vibrant a life. May God receive His son home with love and the most important phrase of all time, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
The Dole Family requests that cards may be mailed to:
The Dole Family
700 New Hampshire Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20037
My fellow Americans and my fellow Kansans:
Although I remember it like yesterday, it was June 4, 1952 — countless yesterdays ago — when I stood in the rain-soaked audience in Abilene, Kansas and cheered as my hero, Dwight Eisenhower, returned home to kick off his campaign for the presidency. I could never have dreamed that eight years later, as a newly elected member of Congress, I would have the opportunity to meet President Eisenhower. Nor could I have dreamed that I would know and work with the twelve men who have followed him in the White House.
It’s no secret that I wouldn’t have minded living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue myself, but it was not to be. Defeat, like victory, is part of a full life, and as this old soldier fades away, he does so with no regrets.
I also leave hearing loud and clear the song, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” — which I played again and again during my recovery from wounds received in the hills of Italy.
It is clearer to me than ever before that any success I have achieved in life is due to the fact that I never did have to walk alone. There was always someone supporting me and walking with me every step of the way.
There were my parents who instilled in me the values of honesty, decency, and love of country.
There were the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division, one of whom, Frank Carafa, risked his life to save mine, by crawling across a battlefield to drag me to safety.
There were the citizens of Russell, who helped pay my hospital bills by digging into their pockets and giving what they could.
There was Dr. Hampar Kelikian, who would refuse to take a penny for any of the seven operations he performed on me.
There were the voters of Kansas, who allowed me to serve for nearly half a century, as a State Representative, County Attorney, United States Congressman, and United States Senator.
There were my colleagues in the House and Senate — Republicans and Democrats alike — with whom I was privileged to serve, to work across party lines in the search for compromise, and to play a small role in moving America forward, ever forward.
There was my House and Senate staff — in Kansas and in Washington, D.C. — who gave me their heart and soul and loyalty. Together, we made a difference, and we had a lot of fun along the way.
There were men and women in every state in our nation who gave me their support and their vote in 1996. We could have used a few more electoral votes, but it was a true honor that a kid from Russell, Kansas could be the nominee of his party for President of the United States.
Above all, there were Robin and Elizabeth, who provided me with enough love and support for several lifetimes.
And, 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 am a bit curious to learn if I am correct in thinking that Heaven will look a lot like Kansas, and to see, like others who have gone before me, if I will be able to vote in Chicago.
I do have one request to make of you. Since it was dedicated in 2004, it has been my honor to go as often as I could to the World War II Memorial here in Washington, D.C, to welcome and thank the World War II veterans and all veterans who are visiting there. Since I won’ be making that visit any more, 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.”
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Downloadable content and information about the remarkable life of Bob Dole.
Details on ceremonies to take place in Washington and Kansas.