Former Representative and Senator awarded Congressional Gold Medal
Former Senator Bob Dole received the highest civilian honor awarded by Congress, the Congressional Gold Medal, on Wednesday, January 17, 2018. Dole was honored during a ceremony in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol by congressional leaders, many of his former colleagues, and President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
“Pursuant to S. 1616, we award the Congressional Gold Medal to the soldier, the legislator, and the statesman from Kansas, Senator Bob Dole,” said Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul Ryan. “The Congressional Gold Medal is one of our oldest traditions. Since its founding, our country has been ushered beyond the threshold of greatness by individuals of unrivaled courage. Bob Dole is one of those giants.”
Dole served in Congress for 35 years, first as a Representative in the House. The lion’s share of his time in Congress, though, was spent in the Senate, where he rose to the position of the leader of his party—serving as both Majority Leader and Minority Leader—for almost 11 years.
Representative Lynn Jenkins recalled her relationship with Dole during her career and that she looked up to him as a mentor, saying “Senator Dole, just as you have impacted me and inspired me to public service, you have greatly impacted so many in this nation.”
President Trump called Dole a “true American hero.” Praising Dole’s career, President Trump said, “From his first years as a young representative from Kansas, to his tenure as Majority Leader of the United States Senate, all the way to today, Bob Dole has never stopped fighting” for the values of loyalty, integrity, hard work, faith, and family.
In accepting the Congressional Gold Medal, Dole said, “I am extremely honored to accept this great honor, and I thank you for presenting it to me.”
In remarks read by his wife, Senator Elizabeth Dole, he recalled his favorite view from the Capitol, which was from the balcony in the Senate Majority Leader’s office. From it, he recounted the view that includes General Grant on his bronze horse, George Washington’s obelisk, the marble shrine to Abraham Lincoln, and the monument dedicated to the 16 million “citizen warriors” of World War II—a monument that Dole was instrumental in establishing. The view ends at the hills of Arlington Cemetery.
“It’s a long way from [the Majority Leader’s balcony] to the slopes of Arlington,” said Senator Dole. “But nowhere near as long as the view [that those buried there] took of their obligations to posterity and to the defense of values that shine as bright as the gold in any medal.”
The House Historian has a full list of past recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal. Awarding a Congressional Gold Medal requires the support of two-thirds of the House and 67 senators.