Actor Tom Hanks praised former Sen. Bob Dole for overcoming severe injury while serving during World War II and going on to have a long career in public service, during remarks at a ceremony on Dec. 10 at the World War II memorial.
As a soldier in WWII, Dole had been shot through the arm and shoulder, injuries that nearly paralyzed him and left him in a body cast for 39 months, Hanks said. Aided by medical staff, Dole was able to restore some of his ability to use his arm through physical therapy. “He worked himself through the long hard sessions of physical toil, just to be able to go about the routine motions of an average day. And yet, he was never able again to button his shirt, or sign his name as he had. He saluted and made your acquaintance with his left hand,” Hanks said.
The American actor said the WWII memorial itself was a symbol of Dole’s contribution to the country, having been a key figure in its construction. “It was Bob Dole who willed this memorial into place. He pushed the idea, he corralled the votes, he made the phone calls, he enlisted allies–all of us–in the cause,” Hanks, who himself had been an early supporter of the memorial, said.
Dole died Dec. 5 at the age of 98. Top leaders of Congress, President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, former Vice President Mike Pence, and former President Bill Clinton, who won a second term after beating Dole in the 1996 election, attended an invitation-only funeral ceremony earlier on Dec. 10 at the Washington National Cathedral.
Dole, who died Sunday at age 98, was wounded in the war, served nearly 36 years in Congress and was GOP Senate leader for more than a decade. In February, he announced he’d been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
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