MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Flags at all local and state buildings, installations and grounds are being flown at half-staff across Florida to honor former Senator Bob Dole’s life and legacy as a war hero and statesman.
Dole, who had stage 4 lung cancer, died Sunday at the age of 98. He served the U.S. for almost 80 years, as a soldier, public prosecutor, state legislator, and U.S. Senator.READ MORE: Giant Asteroid To Safely Zoom By Earth On Tuesday
His body will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday.
Dole, who received two Purple Hearts for his valor in World War II, helped shape tax and foreign policy and worked vigorously to help the disabled, enshrining protections against discrimination in employment, education, and public services in the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Part of his service included serving as co-chair of a commission created by President Bush to help wounded veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Former Health and Human Services Secretary turned former U.S. Rep for Florida’s 27th congressional district, Donna Shalala, was also a co-chair on that commission and remembers Dole as a selfless war hero and congressional leader known for his integrity, humility, and ability to work across the aisle.
“He understood sacrifice, but he still wanted to make sure that he could do everything he could to make sure that we didn’t go into wars unnecessarily, to make sure we understood who was going to fight our wars and what the impact was going to be on them,” Shalala told CBS4’s Jim DeFede. “You know, he started out very partisan, but people talked about him as a statesman because he was a genius at putting together Republicans and Democrats, to put together coalitions, to get good legislation passed. In some ways, we just don’t have people like him. Not many people like him in Congress.”
Dole wasn’t known for being a big talker but had a deadpan wit and was very comfortable communicating through a string of zingers and pointed asides.
Out of office, Dole remained dedicated to helping disabled veterans and honoring the fallen. He was a driving force in getting the World War II Memorial built on the National Mall. Into his 90s, Dole still showed up regularly on Saturdays to greet veterans at the memorial.MORE NEWS: On This MLK Day, Some Mobilize To Protect Voting Rights
In September 2017, Congress voted to award Dole its highest expression of appreciation for distinguished contributions to the nation, a Congressional Gold Medal. In 2019, it promoted him from Army captain to colonel.