*Honoring a man who honors our vets. Normally I use this space to send some slings and arrows toward targets that, in my humble opinion, roundly deserve them. But on this joyous holiday, I want to do something different. I want to honor a well-known American for something he does outside the spotlight.
Every month an organization called the Honor Flight Network arranges a visit to Washington, D.C., by a group of veterans of World War II. Among the activities planned for them is a visit to the granite structure on the National Mall called the National World War II Memorial.
When they arrive, there to greet them is World War II vet, former Senate Majority Leader, and one-time Republican candidate for president, Bob Dole. Here’s how Gerald Seib described a recent Saturday gathering of 108 such men in his Capital Journal column:
“To these veterans, 29 of them in wheelchairs and several toting oxygen tanks, Mr. Dole was like a rock star. They gathered around to shake hands, to have their pictures taken with him, to crack a joke about their ages.”
The journalist continued, “World War II was, after all, Bob Dole’s war too, the violence of which left him permanently without use of his right arm, and these were his comrades in arms. And the spectacular structure behind them on the National Mall is, in many ways, Mr. Dole’s memorial to them, one for which he spent years crusading in the Senate.”
By the end of this year the Honor Flight organization will have flown 42,000 such veterans, at no cost to themselves, to Washington to see the monument. For as long as his health permits, Bob Dole will be there to greet—and thank—every single one.
Merry Christmas, senator. And thank you.