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Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, escorts former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, the wife of the late Sen. Bob Dole, on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. Bob Dole died on Sunday, and a public remembrance was held for him at the National World War II Memorial.  
Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, escorts former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, the wife of the late Sen. Bob Dole, on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. Bob Dole died on Sunday, and a public remembrance was held for him at the National World War II Memorial.   (Nikki Wentling/Stars and Stripes)

WASHINGTON – Marilyn Jenkins was always proud during her 28 years in the Air Force to tell her fellow airmen that she was from Kansas – in large part because of Bob Dole.

“When I served in the miliary, I was able to be very proud of Kansas. Dole worked the aisle and did it right,” Jenkins said of the longtime Republican senator from Kansas. “It was very easy to stand up and say, ‘I’m a Kansan.’”

Jenkins, who is from Leavenworth, Kan., but now lives in Washington, D.C., stood Friday afternoon alongside dozens of other onlookers at the National World War II Memorial, where a public remembrance was held for Dole. He died Sunday at the age of 98.

Following a memorial service at the National Cathedral, Dole’s funeral procession stopped in front of the World War II Memorial. Throngs of people lined 17th Street and watched as his wife, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, as well as Army Gen. Mark Milley, actor Tom Hanks and Today Show host Savannah Guthrie exited the SUVs on either side of the hearse that transported Dole’s casket.

Milley, Hanks and Guthrie spoke Friday about Dole’s military and civil service.

Today Show host Savannah Guthrie speaks at the public remembrance for Sen. Bob Dole at the National World War II Memorial on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. 
Today Show host Savannah Guthrie speaks at the public remembrance for Sen. Bob Dole at the National World War II Memorial on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021.  (Nikki Wentling/Stars and Stripes)
A service member stands guard over a portrait of Bob Dole at a public remembrance for the late senator on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, at the National World War II Memorial.  
A service member stands guard over a portrait of Bob Dole at a public remembrance for the late senator on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, at the National World War II Memorial.   (Nikki Wentling/Stars and Stripes)
Actor Tom Hanks speaks at the public remembrance for Sen. Bob Dole at the National World War II Memorial on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. 
Actor Tom Hanks speaks at the public remembrance for Sen. Bob Dole at the National World War II Memorial on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021.  (Nikki Wentling/Stars and Stripes)
Two service members wait to meet the funeral procession for Sen. Bob Dole on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. A public remembrance was held for Dole at the National World War II Memorial.  
Two service members wait to meet the funeral procession for Sen. Bob Dole on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. A public remembrance was held for Dole at the National World War II Memorial.   (Nikki Wentling/Stars and Stripes)

“Today we're honoring a man of deep character and impressive accomplishment,” said Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “He suffered, he endured, and he showed us all what hope can do.”

Dole was born in Russell, Kan., and attended the University of Kansas. He enlisted in the Army in 1942. Dole was severely wounded in April 1945 while fighting in Italy during World War II, and he spent years in rehabilitation. He never regained feeling in his right arm and hand.

Dole first ran for public office in 1950. He held statewide positions until his election to the House in 1960. Dole represented Kansas in the House from 1961 to 1969, followed by a 27-year tenure as a senator. He held the role of Republican leader of the Senate during his final 11 years in the upper chamber before he launched his second and final presidential run in 1996.

“He went off to do his duty and came back, body broken and dreams snatched,” Guthrie said. “He suffered unfathomably, but he willed himself to recover and heal and find a new path. He stood for resilience, determination and hope.”

After 36 years in Congress, Dole used his political acumen to champion a cause for veterans — a World War II memorial on the National Mall.

In 1997, one year after his last failed presidential bid, he took over as the national chairman of the fundraising campaign for the memorial. With help, Dole raised more than $190 million.

Dole spoke at the memorial’s dedication when it was completed in 2004, and he often visited the memorial to shake hands with veterans who visited it.

“Bob Dole came to this plaza often to talk to veterans like himself,” Hanks said. “The memory and conscious of the man himself will always be right here for as long as there is an America. Right here, we will always remember Bob Dole."

Paul Robbins, left, and Clay Wirt, right, attend the public remembrance of Sen. Bob Dole at the National World War II Memorial on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. Wirt worked on Dole’s congressional staff from 1970 to 1974. 
Paul Robbins, left, and Clay Wirt, right, attend the public remembrance of Sen. Bob Dole at the National World War II Memorial on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. Wirt worked on Dole’s congressional staff from 1970 to 1974.  (Nikki Wentling/Stars and Stripes)
Onlookers watch the public remembrance for Sen. Bob Dole at the National World War II Memorial on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021.  
Onlookers watch the public remembrance for Sen. Bob Dole at the National World War II Memorial on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021.   (Nikki Wentling/Stars and Stripes)
Anne Gramesch, left, and Marilyn Jenkins, right, attend the public remembrance of Sen. Bob Dole at the National World War II Memorial on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. Jenkins, an Air Force veteran, is from Kansas and attended the University of Kansas, as did Dole.  
Anne Gramesch, left, and Marilyn Jenkins, right, attend the public remembrance of Sen. Bob Dole at the National World War II Memorial on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. Jenkins, an Air Force veteran, is from Kansas and attended the University of Kansas, as did Dole.   (Nikki Wentling/Stars and Stripes)

Like Dole, Marilyn Jenkins attended the University of Kansas. At the remembrance Friday, she wore a hat and sweatshirt emblazoned with the school’s logo and carried a sign that read, “Rock Chalk Bob Dole!”

Other Kansans saw the sign and approached Jenkins to take her picture, including Clay Wirt and Paul Robbins, who yelled, “Rock Chalk,” a greeting among KU sports fans. Wirt, originally from Clay Center, Kan., was a congressional staff member for Dole from 1970 to 1974.

Wirt and Robbins traveled to Washington on Friday from Myrtle Beach, S.C. They went to the Capitol to see Dole’s casket carried down the steps, and they stood on the National Mall for two hours, watching a livestream of his memorial service.

Dole went “above and beyond” for his staff, Wirt said.

“He always went that extra mile,” he said. “He really cared for people.”

Wirt reminisced on Dole’s reelection in 1974. During the campaign, Wirt accompanied Dole on visits to all 105 counties in Kansas.

“He was very careful to spend time with people,” he said. “I remember he worried that the expectations would be too high and he wouldn’t have the stamina to do it. But he was wonderful at shaking hands. He carried it off well.”

A police-escorted motorcade arrives at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, as a hearse carries the burial casket of WWII veteran and former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole.
A police-escorted motorcade arrives at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, as a hearse carries the burial casket of WWII veteran and former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole. (Stars and Stripes)
Members of a joint honor guard remove the casket of WWII veteran and former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole from a hearse at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021.
Members of a joint honor guard remove the casket of WWII veteran and former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole from a hearse at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. (Stars and Stripes)
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, left, escorts Elizabeth Dole as she watches an honor guard carry the casket of her late husband, WWII veteran and former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. At right, Army Maj. Garrett Beer escorts the Doles' daughter Robin.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, left, escorts Elizabeth Dole as she watches an honor guard carry the casket of her late husband, WWII veteran and former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. At right, Army Maj. Garrett Beer escorts the Doles' daughter Robin. (Stars and Stripes)
Members of a joint honor guard carry the casket of WWII veteran and former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole toward an Air Force transport plane at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. At right looking on are Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, far left, next to Dole's wife Elizabeth, the Doles' daughter Robin, and Army Maj. Garrett Beer.
Members of a joint honor guard carry the casket of WWII veteran and former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole toward an Air Force transport plane at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. At right looking on are Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, far left, next to Dole's wife Elizabeth, the Doles' daughter Robin, and Army Maj. Garrett Beer. (Stars and Stripes)
Members of a joint honor guard load the casket of WWII veteran and former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole onto a truck beside an Air Force transport plane at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. At right looking on are Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, far right next to Dole's wife Elizabeth, the Doles' daughter Robin and Army Maj. Garrett Beer.
Members of a joint honor guard load the casket of WWII veteran and former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole onto a truck beside an Air Force transport plane at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. At right looking on are Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, far right next to Dole's wife Elizabeth, the Doles' daughter Robin and Army Maj. Garrett Beer. (Stars and Stripes)
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Mille escorts Elizabeth Dole the wife of WWII veteran and former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole to a waiting Air Force transport plane on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. At right, Army Maj. Garrett Beer escorts the Doles' daughter Robin.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Mille escorts Elizabeth Dole the wife of WWII veteran and former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole to a waiting Air Force transport plane on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. At right, Army Maj. Garrett Beer escorts the Doles' daughter Robin. (Stars and Stripes)

The hearse carrying Dole’s casket and a motorcade of escort vehicles arrived at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland where a short departure ceremony was held as Dole’s casket was loaded onto an Air Force transport plane, which was to travel to Kansas.

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Nikki Wentling has worked for Stars and Stripes since 2016. She reports from Congress, the White House, the Department of Veterans Affairs and throughout the country about issues affecting veterans, service members and their families. Wentling, a graduate of the University of Kansas, previously worked at the Lawrence Journal-World and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The National Coalition of Homeless Veterans awarded Stars and Stripes the Meritorious Service Award in 2020 for Wentling’s reporting on homeless veterans during the coronavirus pandemic. In 2018, she was named by the nonprofit HillVets as one of the 100 most influential people in regard to veterans policymaking.
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