Dole remembered on House Floor as war hero, personification of service

Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 6:12 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - U.S. Representative Jake LaTurner remembered late Senator Bob Dole on the House Floor as a war hero and the personification of service.

U.S. Congressman Jake LaTurner (R-KS) says he honored late Senator Bob Dole on the House Floor on Thursday night, Dec. 9. He said he wanted to take the time to remember, honor and celebrate the life of a true American hero.

“I am proud and humbled to stand in for the 700,000 Kansans in my district that wish they could be in the Capitol today to pay tribute to Senator Bob Dole,” said LaTurner. “Senator Dole grew up in small-town called Russell Kansas at a time when many hard-working families were being burdened by the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, and the Dole’s were not immune to these hardships.”

LaTurner said Dole attended the University of Kansas where he was a star Jayhawk basketball player under famed Phog Allen and began his service when he enlisted in the Army Enlisted Reserve Corps. He said Dole dropped everything at the age of 21 when called into active duty and shipped off to Italy in World War II.

“Towards the end of the war, Senator Dole was struck in the upper back and right arm by shrapnel from a German shell while fighting in the mountains in northern Italy and was paralyzed from the neck down,” he continued. “He was sent to the Percy Jones Army Hospital in Battle Creek Michigan where he met some fellow soldiers that would have an impact on the rest of his life.”

LaTurner said the group called themselves the Percy Jones Alumni Caucus, which consisted of Sen. Dole, the ward’s ranking officer Colonel Philip Hart, who later was voted Senator, and longtime friend Daniel Inouye, who later represented Hawaii in the Senate. He said many medical professionals said Dole would not survive his injuries and would never walk again, he proved them wrong.

“The hospital was turned into a federal building and renamed The Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center in 2003,” said LaTurner. “Senator Dole spent the rest of his life fighting for veterans and those who served our nation—and was instrumental in making the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC a reality.”

After he was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for his service in WWII, LaTurner said Sen. Dole served in the Kansas State House and as County Attorney before he was elected to the House of Representatives where he served 8 years. He then moved to represent all Kansans in the U.S. Senate for almost 30 years, serving as Republican Majority Leader twice and then becoming the Republican nominee for President in 1996.

“Senator Dole was a giant in Congress. He fought to preserve freedom and democracy while also working across the aisle to champion legislation that has impacted millions of Americans from all walks of life. Many Americans know and recognize his major legislative achievements such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the McGovern Dole International Food for Education Program, but many do not realize the impact he had on passing legislation that his name was not on at all, and how good he was at getting things done and moving the ball down the field for Kansas and for our nation,” LaTurner continued. “Bob Dole truly embodied what it means to be a statesman and never wavered from his passion for a better and stronger America.”

LaTurner said Dole’s story has stuck with him through his years of service. He said Dole will always inspire him as he serves Kansas and his legacy will live on.

The Congressman from Kansas’s second district then urged his colleagues to join him in prayer for Dole’s surviving wife Elizabeth, daughter Robin, and the entire Dole family as they mourn the loss of the war hero.

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