12/05/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/05/2021 12:51
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The more than 1.5 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and its Auxiliary is saluting the life of one of their own, retired U.S. Sen. Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.).
"The senator's story is an American story," said VFW National Commander Fritz Mihelcic, who said like young Americans everywhere, 19-year-old Bob Dole enlisted soon after Pearl Harbor and would be grievously wounded in 1945 fighting in Italy's Apennine mountains as a second lieutenant with the 10th Mountain Division. He would recover at an Army hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan, alongside another Army second lieutenant, Daniel K. Inouye, who was also seriously wounded in Italy. Both would go on to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, then the U.S. Senate, and be lifelong friends until the Hawaii senator's passing in 2012.
"Two combat-wounded veterans, split by political party but united by a passion to properly care for veterans, service members and their families - that's America at its best," said Mihelcic, whose organization counted both as Life members, and awarded both with its prestigious VFW Congressional Award.
"America is remembering Senator Dole as a former presidential candidate and member of Congress for 36 years, but the VFW remembers him as a 55-year Life member of VFW Post 6240 in Russell, Kansas, as a champion for people with disabilities, and as a regular greeter of fellow World War II veterans visiting their National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.," said the VFW national commander.
"Bob Dole was an American patriot who cared deeply about the health and well-being of those who have and are wearing the uniform of our country and their families," said Mihelcic, "and on behalf of the entire VFW family, I send our deepest condolences to his family for their loss, and thank them for their strength and support that enabled him to continue serving our great nation for so many years."