Bob Dole to lie in state at U.S. Capitol Thursday, a rare honor for the Kansas senator

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Former Republican presidential nominee and U.S. Senator Bob Dole will lie in state in the Capitol rotunda on Thursday, a rare honor reserved for people who have performed distinguished service to the country.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the honor, noting his service in World War II and as a member of Congress, along with his role in helping to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.

“Senator Dole was a leading advocate for Service members, veterans and military families, and inspired millions with his leadership on behalf of Americans with disabilities,” their statement said.

Dole died Sunday morning at the age of 98. He had recently been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.

A formal ceremony will be held Thursday morning, but because of public health measures for the COVID-19 pandemic, only invited guests will be able to attend.

The honor, which has only been granted to 35 others, will be part of a series of events honoring Dole in Washington, D.C. over the course of the week. The details of a funeral for Dole at the National Cathedral have not yet been announced.

Dole will be the first person to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol in 2021. Two U.S. Capitol police officers lay in honor earlier this year.

The last U.S. senator to be honored at the Capitol was former Arizona Senator John McCain, who died in 2018. Dole is the first Kansan to receive the honor since Dwight Eisenhower in 1969.

The senior statesman rose from a childhood in the Kansas Dust Bowl, suffered serious injuries on the European front in World War II and rose to become a member of the House of Representatives, Senate and eventual Republican presidential nominee.

In August 1996, Bob Dole and his wife, Elizabeth, waved from the podium on the floor of the Republican National Convention in San Diego, where Dole accepted the Republican presidential nomination.
In August 1996, Bob Dole and his wife, Elizabeth, waved from the podium on the floor of the Republican National Convention in San Diego, where Dole accepted the Republican presidential nomination.

Several politicians have offered tributes for his long career, noting his sharp wit and his ability to foster agreements in Congress.

“Whatever their politics, anyone who saw Bob Dole in action had to admire his character and his profound patriotism. Those of us who were lucky to know Bob well ourselves admired him even more,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “We look forward to honoring his life and legacy at the Capitol.”

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