(WASHINGTON) — Former Sen. Bob Dole — a decorated World War II veteran and presidential candidate who served in Congress for 36 years — will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday as the nation honors the late American statesman.
Dole died Sunday in his sleep at the age of 98.
A formal arrival ceremony will begin at 9:45 a.m. on Thursday followed by a congressional tribute ceremony at 10 a.m. including remarks from President Joe Biden, who worked alongside Dole in the Senate for more than 20 years and called him “a man of extraordinary courage, both physical and moral courage.”
“Our nation owes Bob Dole a debt of gratitude for the remarkable service and a life well-lived,” Biden said on Wednesday in his first public comments about Dole since the senator’s death.
“Like all true friendships, regardless of how much time has passed, we picked up right where we left off, as though it were only yesterday that we were sharing a laugh in the Senate dining room or debating the great issues of the day, often against each other, on the Senate floor,” Biden, who last saw Dole at the White House in February, wrote on Sunday in a statement.
The president will also deliver a eulogy at Dole’s memorial service on Friday at Washington National Cathedral, which will air on ABC News and ABC News Live.
Thursday’s ceremony at the Capitol will be open only to invited guests, lawmakers said, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the public can watch online as he lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda until 8 p.m. — an honor reserved for the most revered American officials.
Dole was severely wounded in action while serving as an Army officer in World War II and left with limited mobility in his right arm — but he persevered. From humble beginnings, Dole went on to graduate law school, serve in the Kansas state legislature and then four terms in the House of Representatives and five terms in the Senate. He also led the Senate Republican Conference for more than a decade and was the longest-serving Republican leader until recently surpassed by Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
In Congress, Dole helped shape tax, social security and foreign policy, as well as government farm and nutrition programs. He was an advocate for the rights of veterans and Americans with disabilities, instrumental in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.
He was known was known as one of the “last lions of the Senate.”
Dole ran for president three times, losing primaries in 1980 to Ronald Reagan and in 1988 to George H.W. Bush. After winning the Republican party nomination in 1996, he lost the general election to Bill Clinton, who later presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In a USA Today op-ed Dole finished on pen and paper less than two weeks before his death, he said Congress needs teamwork now more than ever, and wrote, “Those who suggest compromise is a sign of weakness the fundamental strength of our American democracy.”
A formal departure ceremony from the Capitol will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Friday ahead of a funeral at Washington National Cathedral and ceremony at the World War II Memorial with remarks from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.
Dole’s body will then be flown to Kansas for services in his home state.
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